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AU18 Yanders

English/Compstd 2264:
Introduction to Pop Culture,
“So, You Think You Know Pop

Instructor: Jacinta Yanders | Email:

What’s your favorite song? Favorite movie? Do you know why it’s your favorite?

In this class, we’ll explore what pop culture is, how pop culture affects our
identities and worldviews, how pop culture texts are created and circulated,
and much more. In order to accomplish these goals, we will traverse a variety
of mediums (such as music and television), utilize a range of scholarship (such
as Film Theory and Fan Studies), and keep our fingers on the pulse of
mainstream popular criticism and analysis (via outlets such as Buzzfeed and
Additionally, we will consume a lot of pop culture. This consumption
necessitates a willingness to allot time and energy to actively and critically
read, listen to, and watch the course material. We will regularly excavate our
interpretations of the material, its functions, and its effects. As such, this means
we’ll continuously be discussing how pop culture intersects with race, gender,
sexuality, politics, religion, socioeconomic status, nationalism, and more. While
these topics are not always the easiest to discuss, we will work together as a
classroom community to cultivate the language and tools that will enable us to
do so most effectively.

Did I mention that this class is also fun? It is definitely meant to be rigorous and
to challenge you in many ways, but it’s also meant to be fun. In the words of
one Alexander Hamilton (as played by Lin-Manuel Miranda), “Let’s go.”

P.S. In this class, a pop culture text is never just a pop culture text, and there’s
no way we’re going to read too much into anything.

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Your experience in this class is important to me. As an instructor, I try to be as

proactive as possible in ensuring that everyone has the necessary access and
support to participate and learn. If there’s ever a time in which you feel like your
access could be better supported, please do let me know. Student Life Disability
Services contact info:;; 614-292-3307; 098 Baker Hall,
113 W. 12th Avenue.

“Art has always been political. Music

has always been political. Movies have
always been political. Books have
always been political”-Kumail Nanjiani

Content and Comfort

Some content in this class might make

you uncomfortable and/or be contrary
to your opinions and experiences. To
grow and learn, we need open minds
and to engage with different POVs
generously. With respect to potentially
“As a classroom community, our capacity
to generate excitement is deeply affected harmful content, I will provide warnings
by our interest in one another, in hearing to the best of my ability, but if you’re
one another’s voices, in recognizing one concerned about specific content
another’s presence.”- bell hooks preventing you from engaging
healthily, please speak with me.

Given the variety of backgrounds and life

experiences we all bring to this class, it’s
important to cultivate an atmosphere that
respects and appreciates what each of us
has to offer. Doing so will not only allow us
to better learn from one another, but it will,
on the most fundamental level, make
being in this class a more enjoyable
experience. Additionally, you’ll often be
assigned collaborative tasks in class. It’s
more than worthwhile to get to know one
another. Be respectful, support one
another, and have fun!
P.S. The devil does not need an advocate.

AU18 Yanders

“You gotta listen when people say what you do/your words offend them, no matter
what your ego feels, what you think you know, how you were raised”-Kehlani

Inclusive Language

Language is important, and how we address one another conveys respect (or lack
thereof). In addition to abstaining from using slurs and other forms of derogatory
language, in this class, everyone should be referred to by the correct name, with
the correct pronunciation, and with the correct pronouns.

Office Hours

Students tend to think they should only go to office

hours if they have a problem, but in actuality,
office hours also provide opportunities to ask
questions, to get to know your professors, and for
us to get to know you. This is also useful in the
instance that you might need a recommendation
one day. You’ll notice that I’m requiring you to
come to Office Hours (or another agreed upon
time) early in this semester, and that’s expressly
because I want to know you. Hopefully, you’ll find
occasion to come back.

AU18 Yanders

Core Principles of this Class (Adapted from Clint Smith III):

Read critically | Write consciously | Speak clearly| Tell your truth

“We all should be proactive in learning about

marginalized communities of which we are not a
part”-April Reign

Qs to Consider (Modified from Nathalie Wooldridge)

• What (or whose) view of the world, or kinds of

behaviors are presented as normal by the text?

• Why is the text constructed the way that it is?

How else could it have been constructed?
What assumptions does the text make about
age, gender, class, race, sexuality, culture, and
audiences? Who is silenced and who is heard in
the text? Whose interests might best be served
by the text? What ideological positions can you
identify in the text?

• What are the possible readings of the text? How

did you get to those readings? What moral or
political position does a reading support? How
do particular cultural and social contexts make
particular readings available? How might a
reading be challenged?

Cultures and Ideas GE Requirement

• Students evaluate significant cultural phenomena and ideas in order to
develop capacities for aesthetic and historical response and judgment; and
interpretation and evaluation.

Expected Learning Outcomes:

• Students analyze and interpret major forms of human thought, culture, and

• Students evaluate how ideas influence the character of human beliefs, the
perception of reality, and the norms which guide human behavior.

AU18 Yanders

Required Materials

• Access to a Netflix streaming account

• Hamilton (Broadway Cast Recording). This album is available via numerous

streaming sites as well as in hard copy format at various retailers

• Note: Any course readings and non-Netflix/OSU videos are linked/uploaded to

Carmen and accessible via the Modules tab

• Reliable internet/technology access to complete course readings, viewings,

assignments, etc.

• It’s also generally a good idea to have paper and pen/pencil on hand in class


Specific descriptions of and guidelines for each assignment will be reviewed in

class and made available via Carmen.

• Office Hours Visit (5%)

• Critical Reading Responses (15% total; 3% each)

• Guiltiest Pleasure Essay (15%)

• The ABCs of Pop Culture Collaborative Project (45%)

• This I (No Longer) Believe Essay (20%)

Grading Scale:

A (93-100) A- (90-92) B+ (87-89) B (83-86) B- (80-82)

C+ (77-79) C (73-76) C- (70-72) D+ (67-69) D (60-66)

Student Work

Assignments should be posted to Carmen by the assigned due dates and in

accordance with the guidelines described on the prompts. Pro-tip: Save early,
save often, and keep at least two separate copies of your work. Hard drives
don’t care about your feelings.

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Timeliness and Grace

“Grace Days” are

extensions you can request
on submission due dates.
You get three Grace Days
for the semester. You may
choose to use all three days
at once, divide them as
needed, or not use them at
all. Simply send me an
email to let me know if you
wish to use them. If you turn
in an assignment late Technology
without a Grace Day, there
will be a deduction of 1/3 Our Carmen site serves as a hub via which you
of a letter grade for each can access important information, submit
day late. I realize that there assignments, and contact your classmates and
can be numerous myself. Note: Be sure to regularly check your
circumstances that might Carmen inbox or have messages forwarded to
interfere with your email address.
the submission of an
assignment, and should It may be the case that you want to use
such circumstances arise, technology for notetaking, and I’m happy to
it’s important that you assist you in identifying the best tools to meet
inform me sooner rather your needs. 100% undivided attention is not
than later so that we can something I seek. What I do ask is that you’re
make a plan. Late work thoughtful about when and how you use
delays my ability to provide technology in class. And be thoughtful about
you with what you broadcast to the people surrounding
useful feedback in a timely you.
fashion. I encourage you to
turn in your
work on time and to only
make use of these
extensions only when

AU18 Yanders

To Cite or Not to Cite?

Any time you use secondary sources in this class, you need to cite them. I
know that it can sometimes be challenging to remember citations, especially
given the prevalence of digital writing in our daily lives that is less intently
geared toward citation. That being said, citation is a powerful and necessary
practice that we’ll spend some time discussing in class.

Plagiarism is the unauthorized use of the words or ideas of another person. It is

a serious academic offense that can result in referral to the Committee on
Academic Misconduct and failure for the course. Faculty Rule 3335-5-487
states, “It is the responsibility of the Committee on Academic Misconduct to
investigate or establish procedures for the investigation of all reported cases of
student academic misconduct. The term ‘academic misconduct’ includes all
forms of student academic misconduct wherever committed; illustrated by,
but not limited to, cases of plagiarism and dishonest practices in connection
with examinations. Instructors shall report all instances of alleged academic
misconduct to the committee.” In addition, it is a violation of the student code
of conduct to submit without the permission of the instructors work for one
course that has also been submitted in fulfillment of the requirements of
another course. For additional information, see the Code of Student Conduct

Attendance Class Cancellation

Here’s the plain truth: being present will If class is cancelled due to
improve your grasp on the material and emergency, I will contact you via
give you chances to develop in the email and request that a note be
areas described in the course
placed on the door. Additionally, I
will inform you via email regarding
what will be expected of you for
Being absent won’t.
our next class meeting.
Each unexcused absence after four will
lower your final grade by 1/3. Excused
absences, such as those for illness,
personal tragedy, religious observance,
or OSU athletic travel, will not affect
your grade. Please contact me ASAP if
you need to miss a class. P.S. If you’re
late, make sure you check in with me
after class.

AU18 Yanders

***Spoiler Alert***: The material for this course is riddled with all sorts of spoilers.
Good luck!

(To access items on the OSU streaming library, visit

Getting Started

• August 21
• Introductions; Getting Started

• August 23
• Watch: Halloween (OSU); Scream 2 (Netflix)

• August 28
• Read: John Storey, "What is Popular Culture?”
• Watch: The Godfather (Netflix)

• August 30
• Read: Stuart Hall, "Representation, Meaning, and Language"
• Watch: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, "The Danger of a Single Story"
• Listen: Code Switch, "I Don't Know if I Like This, But I Want it to Win”
• Due: Critical Reading Response #1
Taste Cultures: "It's the pleasure principle. Oh-o, Oh-o."  (Janet Jackson, "The
Pleasure Principle”)

• September 4
• Read: Raymond Williams, "On High and Popular Culture"; The New
Republic, "Are We a Nation of Lowbrows?"
• Watch: Twin Peaks (Season 1, Episode 1: "Pilot"; Netflix); The Wire (Season 1,
Episode 1: "The Target"; OSU)

• September 6
• Read: Chuck Klosterman, "A Night with the World's Most Hated Bands";
Marc Hogan, "Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump Wants You to Stop Hating
Nickelback (And He isn't Wrong)"; Mae Rice, "Why I Can't Quit the
• Watch:  Creed, "Higher"; Creed, "One Last Breath"; Nickelback, "How You
Remind Me"; Nickelback, "Photograph"; Fall Out Boy, "Sugar, We're Going
Down";  Fall Out Boy, "Dance, Dance"; The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey,
"Closer"; The Chainsmokers & Coldplay, "Something Just Like This”

AU18 Yanders
• September 11
• Read: Noah Berlatsky, "The Dark Side of Television's 'Golden Age'"; Mary
Kate McCoy, "Soap Operas Longstanding Influence on American Culture";
Marianne Eloise, "Exploring the Cultural Impact of The O.C. & Male
Fandom, Dismissal, and Shame”
• Watch: All My Children "3/29/04";  Mad Men (Season 1, Episode 1: "Smoke
Gets in Your Eyes"; Netflix)
• September 13
• Read: Richard Dyer, "The Matter of Whiteness"; Jaime Weinman, "Hot Takes
and 'Problematic Faves': The Rise of Socially Conscious Criticism”
• Watch: Get Out (OSU)
• Due: Critical Reading Response #2
Fandom: "But it's just a sweet, sweet fantasy, baby" (Mariah Carey, “Fantasy")

• September 18
• Read: Jonathan Gray, Cornel Sandvoss, and C. Lee Harrington, "Why Study
Fans?"; Henry Jenkins, Joshua Green, and Sam Ford, "The Value of Media
• Watch: Making Fun: The Story of Funko (Netflix)
• Due: Office Hours Visit

• September 20
• Read: Pier Dominguez, "Pop Music Stans Aren't Crazy, They're Having a
Conversation"; Gabe Bergado, "Popular Kendall Jenner Fan Account has
Decided to Stop Supporting Her”
• Watch: How The Beatles Changed the World (Netflix)

• September 25
• Read: Kate Bennion, "Resistance, Caring, & 'Mask'ulinity: The Feminist
Message of the Dudes in The Force Awakens"; Jordan Zakarin, "How the Alt-
Right and Nostalgic Trolls Hijacked Geek Pop Culture”
• Watch: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (OSU); Star Wars: The Last Jedi
• September 27
• Watch: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season 4, Episode 19: "New Moon Rising"
and Season 6, Episode 19: "Seeing Red"); Wynonna Earp (Season 1, Episode
2: "Keep the Home Fires Burning" and Season 1, Episode 9: "Bury Me With My
Guns On"; Netflix)
• Due: Guiltiest Pleasure Essay

Sports: "Playas, they gon' play. And haters, they gonna hate. Ballers, they gon' ball.
Shot callers, they gonna call" (3LW, "Playas Gon' Play”)

• October 2
• Read: Victoria L. Jackson, "Take it from a Former Division I Athlete: College
Sports are Like Jim Crow”
• Watch: Hoop Dreams
• Listen: Code Switch, "The Madness of March”

AU18 Yanders

• October 4
• Read: Dave Zirin, "Wrestling with Kobe Bryant's Forgotten Apology";
Deandre Levy, "Man Up”
• Watch: The Mask You Live In (Netflix)
• Due: Collaborative Project Proposals
• October 9
• Read: Vann R. Newkirk II, "Football has Always Been a Battleground in the
Culture War"; Rembert Browne, "Colin Kaepernick Has a Job”
• Watch: Friday Night Lights (Season 1, Episode 1: "Pilot"; OSU)
• Listen: Code Switch, "A Thousand Ways to Kneel and Kiss the Ground"
• October 11: Fall Break

#20GAYTEEN: "I'm coming out. I want the world to know. Got to let it show." (Diana
Ross, "I'm Coming Out”)

• October 16
• Read: Corinne Werder, "What Queer Means: A Pride 2016 Explainer"; Eve
Ng, "Between Text, Paratext, and Context: Queerbaiting and the
Contemporary Media Landscape”
• Watch: "The O.C.-All Alex & Marissa Scenes"; "43 Reasons to Ship Bechloe";
t.A.T.u., "All the Things She Said”
• Due: Critical Reading Response #3

• October 18
• Read: Melissa Kravitz, "Why Teen Magazines have Gone Queer";  Amandla
Stenberg in Conversation with King Princess; Mickey Rapkin, "How Troye
Sivan Found Stardom Without Catering to Straight Fans”
• Watch: Tab Hunter Confidential (Netflix)

• October 23
• Read: Tricia Ennis, "Representation Matters: How Supergirl and One Comic
Shop Employee Helped Save a Girl's Life”
• Watch: One Day at a Time, (Season 1, Episode 5: "Strays", Episode 7: "Hold
Please", Episode 8: "One Lie at a Time", Episode 10: "Sex Talk", Episode 11:
"Pride & Prejudice", Episode 13: "Quinces"; Netflix)

• October 25
• Read: Steven Blum, "Fifth Harmony's Lauren Jauregi: Pop Anarchist"; Kristen
Stegemoeller, "Halsey is Coming Through Loud and Queer"; Claire
Valentine, "Kehlani: the Softer Side of Savage"; Brittany Spanos,
"#20gayteen: The Year of Hayley Kiyoko”
• Watch: Fifth Harmony, "He Like That"; Halsey, "Bad at Love"; Halsey & Lauren
Jauregi, “Strangers (Live from Good Morning America)”; Kehlani, "First
Position"; Kehlani, "Distraction"; Kehlani, "Honey"; Hayley Kiyoko, "Girls Like
Girls"; Hayley Kiyoko, "Feelings"; Hayley Kiyoko, "Curious";  Hayley Kiyoko ft.
Kehlani, "What I Need"

AU18 Yanders

#BlackGirlMagic: "Black girl magic. Y'all can't stand it. Y'all can't ban it." (Janelle
Monáe, "Django Jane”)

• October 30
• Read: Jancee Dunn, "A Date With Destiny"; Aisha Durham, "'Check On It':
Beyoncé, Southern Booty, and Black Femininities in Music Video”
• Watch: Destiny's Child ft. Wyclef Jean, "No No No, Part 2"; Destiny's Child,
"Bills Bills Bills"; Destiny's Child, "Say My Name"; Destiny's Child, "Survivor"; 
Destiny's Child, "Soldier"; Destiny's Child, "Cater 2 U"; Beyoncé, "Crazy in
Love"; Beyoncé, "Upgrade U"; Beyoncé, "Ring the Alarm"; Beyoncé,
"Irreplaceable"; Beyoncé ft. Bun B & Slim Thug, "Check On It"; Beyoncé, "If I
Were a Boy"; Beyoncé, "Single Ladies"; Beyoncé ft. J. Cole, "Party"; Beyoncé,
"Run the World”
• Due: Critical Reading Response #4
• November 1
• Read: Melissa Harris-Perry, "A Call and Response with Melissa Harris-Perry:
The Pain and Power of Lemonade; 
• Watch: Beyoncé, "Pretty Hurts"; Beyoncé, "Drunk in Love"; Beyoncé,
"Partition"; Beyoncé, "XO"; Beyoncé ft. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
"Flawless"; Beyoncé ft. Blue Ivy, "Blue"; Beyoncé, Lemonade
• November 6
• Read: Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, "Her Eyes Were Watching the Stars: How
Missy Elliott Became an Icon";Brittany Spanos, "Janelle Monáe Frees Herself"
• Watch: Missy Elliott, "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)"; Missy Elliott ft. Da Brat, "Sock
it 2 Me"; Missy Elliott, "She's a Bitch"; Missy Elliott ft. Pharrell, "WTF (Where They
From)"; Janelle Monáe, "Tightrope"; Janelle Monáe ft. Erykah Badu,
"Q.U.E.E.N."; Janelle Monáe and Jidenna, "Yoga";  Janelle Monáe, "Dirty
Computer-An Emotion Picture"
• November 8
• Read: Hannah Giorgis, "Rihanna and the Radical Power of 'Carefree Black
Girl' Celebrity"; Patrik Sandberg, "The Full Revolution of Nicki Minaj", Allison P.
Davis, "Cardi B Was Made to be This Famous”
• Watch: Rihanna, "Pon De Replay"; Rihanna ft. Jay-Z, "Umbrella"; Rihanna ft.
Calvin Harris, "We Found Love"; Rihanna ft. Drake, "Work"; Nicki Minaj, "Super
Bass"; Nicki Minaj, "Monster"; Nicki Minaj, "Anaconda"; Nicki Minaj ft. Ariana
Grande, "Bed"; Cardi B, "Bodak Yellow"; Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B, “Finesse
(Remix)”; Cardi B, "Be Careful"; Cardi B ft J Balvin and Bad Bunny, "I Like It"

Remix: "This is the remix. The jeeps pump this new remix." (Destiny's Child ft. Wyclef
Jean, "No No No Part 2")

• November 13
• Watch: PBS Idea Channel, "Why are there So Many Remakes?? (Besides $$
$)"; Kirby Ferguson, "Everything is a Remix”; PBS Idea Channel, “Are
Mashups the End of Music Genres as We Know Them?”

AU18 Yanders

• November 15
• Watch: E.T. The Extraterrestrial (OSU); Stranger Things (Season 1, Episode 1:
"The Vanishing of Will Byers" and Episode 2: "The Weirdo on Maple Street";
• Due: Collaborative Project Powerpoints

• November 20
• Read: Alison Willmore, "The Privilege of Hollywood Nostalgia"
• Listen: Hamilton: Original Broadway Recording (Act I, "Alexander
• Due: Collaborative Project Essay
• November 22: Thanksgiving Break

• November 27
• Read: Kristen J. Warner, "In the Time of Plastic Representation”
• Listen: Hamilton: Original Broadway Recording (Act 2, "What'd I Miss"-"Who
Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”)
• Due: Critical Reading Response #5; Collaborative Project Voting
Politics: "Don't you know? They're talkin' 'bout a revolution." (Tracy Chapman,
"Talkin' 'bout a Revolution")

• November 29
• Read: Emily Nussbaum, "The TV that Created Donald Trump"; Josh Dawsey
and Hadas Gold, "Kushner: We Struck Deal with Sinclair for Straighter
• Watch: Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (Netflix)
• December 4
• Watch: Citizen Kane (OSU)

• December 12 (No Class Meeting)

• Due: This I (No Longer) Believe Essay