SOC2100: popular Culture

Undergraduate Course Syllabus
Course Information
Course Title: Popular Culture
Course Number: SOC2100
Term and Year: Fall Semester B, 2017
Credit Hour: 3
Course Format: Online
Location (if 100% online, note NU Online Login URL:
Meeting Days/Times: 100% online
Course Prerequisite, Co-requisite, or Other Requirement: None, although SOC 1 is highly recommended.
Instructor Information
Full Name: Lora Karaoglu Serce, Ph.D.
Email Address:
Virtual Office Hours: Available most evenings, except few weekends. Please send me a quick email to schedule
an appointment.
Course Description
Popular Culture explores the significance of expressions of popular culture such as film, television, music, and
literature. This course examines media production, organization, technology, and audience consumption.
Discusses countercultures and subcultures, moral and ethical considerations, high and low culture,
independent and corporate business influences, and consumerism and consumption. Topics include the effects
of popular culture on race, gender, and class. Covers the relationship between popular culture and existing
socioeconomic institutions.
 Workload
o One (1) academic credit requires 50 minutes a week of classroom or faculty instruction and
about two hours of out of class student work for a 15-week course; 100 minutes a week of
classroom or direct faculty instruction and about 3.5 hours of out of class student work for a
7.5-week course.
o For a three-credit course, students should expect 2.5 hours a week of classroom or faculty
instruction and a minimum of 5 hours of out of class student work for a 15-week course; 5
hours of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of 10 hours of out of class
student work for a 7.5-week course.
 Attendance policy
 Policy on late/incomplete work
 Communication with instructor (e.g., response time; best way to reach instructor)
Course Materials
 Mix It Up: Popular Culture, Mass Media, and Society, David Grazian, Second Edition, W.W
Norton & Company Inc., 2017 (ISBN # 978-0-393-60279-1)
 Connecting Social Problems and Popular Culture: Why Media is Not the Answer, Karen
Sternheimer, Westview Press, 2013, Second Edition (ISBN# 978-0-8133-4723-3). Ebook ISBN:
 Journal articles and book chapters: The articles and book chapters (some of them listed below) will be
made available in a PDF format within weekly course materials on Blackboard.
o David Grazian, Neoliberalism and the Realities of Reality Television, University of Pennsylvania ,
2010 (article from the selected works of D. Grazian)
o Stuart Hall, “Encoding, Decoding” in The Cultural Studies Reader, Simon During(editor), 1999,
Routledge, London and New York (pp. 90-98)
o JoEllen Shively, “Cowboys and Indians: Perceptions of Western Films among American Indians
and Anglos,” American Sociological Review 57/6 Dec., 1992):pp. 725-734
o Limor Shifman, “When Internet Memes Go Global” and “Memes as Political Participation” in
MEMES in Digital Culture, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013. (chapters 8 & 9)
Program Objectives
1. Specialized Knowledge
Develop increased literacy with core concepts, perspectives, findings and trends in sociology.
2. Broad Integrated Knowledge
Engage in cross-disciplinary discourse and develop foundational critical thinking skills informed by inquiry,
scientific methodology and creativity.
3. Professional Knowledge
Increase intellectual capacity to understand vocationally oriented values, standards and techniques.
4. Socially Responsive Knowledge
Analyze social challenges and opportunities contextually and formulate responses that are grounded in
professional values and best practices.
5. Interpersonal and Technological Communication Skills
Interact with others in a positive, professional, conscientious, collaborative manner in verbal and written
communications. Display information competence and become nimble in using technology for multiple
6. Personal Development
Emerge with insights and strategies to develop a professional identity and meaningfully engage in occupational
endeavors, personal relationships and civic activities.
Student Learning Outcomes
The course offers students the opportunity to apply the relevant sociological theories of popular culture Based
on satisfactory completion of this course; a student should be able to:
 Understand and apply the major theoretical perspectives on the relationship between society and
popular culture
 Analyze the role of popular culture in the context of intersectionality– race, social class, gender, &
 Describe the means of cultural and pop-cultural reproduction in society.
 Discuss the relationship between popular culture and current socioeconomic institutions.
 Analyze the role of pop-cultural practices and the movements for social change
 Explain the role of media and popular culture as problems in society
Course Methodology
The study of sociology provides an important context for examining and understanding social systems and
their influence on human behavior and outcomes. By design, the course offers students the chance to develop
a host of valuable skills for today’s marketplace, including but not limited to critical thinking, scholarly writing,
metacognition, professional behavior and contextual learning. This course focuses upon a global,
interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and contextual view of popular culture. Our collective inquiry will afford
students the opportunity to apply thinking across a variety of professional roles in psychology, health care,
social work, sociology, education and leadership.
SOC 2100 is a course with an interactive format that relies on your willingness to participate in all activities. We
will use a variety of methods to achieve course objectives including lectures, discussion, and experiential
activities. Students should be prepared to engage in a host of interactive exercises to examine behaviors
through sociological experiments that foster personal reflection and evaluation.
Each week, you will be expected to:
 View the announcements and review the week’s learning objectives.
 Complete all assigned readings and lecture materials.
 Attend and actively participate in all online course activities.
 Complete and submit all assignments by the due dates.
The course material for each lesson will include a combination of a textbook chapter, secondary readings (case
studies), lecture notes, discussion board topics, and assignments that need to be completed.
Grading/Evaluation Standards:
The grade will be derived from four main categories of coursework, weighted as follows:
Title Description Grade (Pts or %)
1 Discussions Weekly discussion board participation 40 points or %
2 Writing assignments Critical writing assignments 25 points or %
3 Individual project Popular culture interview & response 15 points or %
4 Final Paper Popular culture portfolio 20 points or %
Assignment descriptions and rubrics will be listed in weekly assignment section of Blackboard.
1. Weekly Discussion Board Participation
Students are expected to read and respond to the question posted by the professor. Each week your
participation in the Discussion Board will be worth 40% (or 40 points) of your total grade. Accordingly, you will
receive either 5.7 or 5.8 points each week. You are required to post at least one “primary response”
(answering a discussion question) and two “secondary responses” (responses to other students’ posts). In
other words, at a minimum, students should post six responses each week.
Primary response—your initial commentary on the question: Due by 11:59pm EST each Thursday. Primary
responses should be at least 100-200 words and should display a growing knowledge of the course material as
learned through lecture notes, readings, and previous discussions.
Secondary responses—your reaction to other students’ commentary: Due by 11:59pm EST each Sunday.
Secondary responses can be just a couple of sentences; however they must still be fundamental—constructive
disagreements, agreements, and personal anecdotes or meaningful questions.
In all instances responses should demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the textbook and lecture and
your replies should be respectful, point to course readings and lecture material. High quality posts will
demonstrate critical thinking and analysis of the readings and go beyond personal feelings or beliefs. While
personal beliefs and stories are an acceptable part of a reply they are not central to the course. Please be sure
to use them only where they illustrate your point and/or convey your understanding of the material we are
considering. Be mindful of the need to respect the replies of your peers even when, especially when, you
Again, comprehension, engagement, and timeliness are critical components of Discussion Board.
Very Important! Please make certain that you post Discussion Board items in a timely manner within the
specified week. If you do not, then we lose the “discussion”. Beyond 11:59pm EST posts are considered late
and late entries will NOT receive credit since they will not be contributions that others can respond to. Try to
get in early on these, because this may make it easier. The worst problem will be to fall behind.
2. Critical Writing Assignments
There will be three “critical writing assignments” that derive from the current topic. I want you to know that
any posted assignments will be considered as completed for full credit as long as I recognize that you have
read the material and have answered the questions completely. I will expect all assignments to be sent to me
(saved as word document) through the Assignment folder where they are posted. If there is anything in your
answer that is unclear, I will give you feedback through the same area. It is important to keep up with these
assignments. As with all work, your responses are expected within the assigned week, by Sunday at 11:59p.m
EST. Critical writing assignments will be worth 25 points (or 25%) of your total grade.
3. Individual project: Pop culture interview & response
Pop culture interview and response: Each student will conduct an interview with a respondent from a different
generation about popular culture.
You will interview someone who is different than you and write a 2-3 page paper describing your experience.
The paper should be double-spaced 12-point font Times New Roman.
Objective: Each student will conduct an interview with a respondent from a different generation about
popular culture. At a minimum the student will ask their respondent about the role pop culture plays in their
life and in society as a whole, problems they see associated with pop culture, and differences they see based
on social location. The student will then summarize and compare the respondent’s perspective with their
own and analyze using course materials.
Pop culture interview and response will be worth 15 points (or 15%) of your total grade. Please see the weekly
course materials section of Blackboard for detailed description of this individual project.
4. Final Paper: Pop culture portfolio
Pop culture portfolio (final paper): Throughout the course you will look for examples of popular culture
connected with the topics we cover. You will write a sociological response to the 3 such topics in total.
Each response will emphasize a topic from either the Connecting Social Problems with pop culture text,
Memes or Mix It Up. Full credit will only be awarded if a student draws on each of the three texts in their
paper as well as included theory to explain what is going on. Students are welcome to rely on any form of
popular culture including music, movies/clips, television, print media, clothing, pop culture icons, etc. for
their examples. Each of the examples ought to come from the same era, but that need not be contemporary.
Pop culture portfolio will be worth 20 points (or 20%) of your total grade.
Please see the course materials section of Blackboard for detailed description of this final project.
Grading scale:
93-100 = A 83-86 = B 73-76 = C 63-66 = D
90-92 = A- 80-82 = B- 70-72 = C- 60-62 = D87-89 = B+ 77-79 = C+ 67-69 = D+ 59 > = F
Please refer to the CPS student handbook for a discussion of grading standards
Late Submission of Work:
 Each assignment is due at 11:59 pm EST of the date indicated. Any work submitted after the deadline
is penalized one letter grade per day late (further details, please see rubrics via BB).
 There are no make-up dates or extensions for the assignments except for documented personal
emergencies or special permission granted by the instructor in writing, which must be requested at
least two days prior to the due date. No submissions are permitted once the course has ended.
 Late discussion board responses will receive no credit.
 Not completing any of the course assignments may lead to a failing grade in the course. Incomplete
grades are strongly discouraged and will only be given after discussion with the instructor and if a
student has completed all but one assignment in the course. The university requires an incomplete
grade contract.
There is no intention to penalize students for writing skills but to help foster improvement and full
participation in the curriculum. If students need help to improve writing skills, the following free resources are
 Smarthinking (available in Tool section of Blackboard) – this allows students to submit personal
written material in any subject and have it reviewed by an e-instructor within a 24-hour window (in
most cases). Students are strongly urged to take advantage of this resource.
 Writing Center on Northeastern Campus – contact the center to schedule an appointment.
 The Purdue Online Writing Lab ( is a valuable source of
information about grammar, sentence structure, and general writing skills.
Communication/Submission of Work:
In the Assignments folder, click on the View/Complete Assignment link to view each assignment. Attach your
completed assignments here and click Submit to turn them in to me. Once your assignment has been graded,
you will be able to view the grade and feedback I have provided by clicking on Tools, View Grades from the
Northeastern Online Campus tab.
Lecture Notes:
The professor will also present weekly lectures in the Course Material area, mostly in PowerPoint, PDF format,
presentations. These are intended to enhance your text based information, and to add some thoughts that
the professor want to share with you. No response will be necessary from you.
Course Schedule: Subject to change with notice
Week/Dates Topic Reading Assignments with due date
Week 1
10/25 – 10/29
short week
What is popular culture
& why does it matter?
The social organization of
popular culture.
Start investigating: Pop
culture & social problems:
Is pop culture to blame?
Mix It Up : Chapter 1
Connecting Social
Problems &Pop Culture
Chapters, 2, 3
Discussion Board:
Primary reply due by Thursday and
secondary replies due by Sunday,
11:59pm EST
Week 2
10/30 – 11/5
Major theoretical
Functionalist approach to
popular culture.
Mix It Up : Chapter 2
Connecting Social
Problems & Pop
Culture, Chapters 6, 7
Discussion Board: Primary reply due by
Thursday and secondary replies due by
Sunday, 11:59pm EST
Critical writing assignment #1 due by
Sunday, 11:59pm EST.
Week 3
11/6 – 11/12
Veterans’ Day
No Classes
Major theoretical
approaches :
Critical approach to
popular culture
Mix It Up : Chapter 3
Connecting Social
Problems & Pop
Culture, Chapter 10
D. Grazian’s article via
Discussion Board: Primary reply due by
Thursday and secondary replies due by
Sunday, 11:59pm EST
Critical writing assignment #2 due by
Sunday, 11:59pm EST.
Week 4
11/13 – 11/19
Major theoretical
approaches: An
Interaction approach to
popular culture
Studying pop culture:
content and meaning
(Decoding the Internet in
Global Pop Culture)
Mix It Up : Chapter 4
Stuart Hall’s article via
Connecting Social
Problems & Pop
Culture, Chapters 4, 8
Discussion Board: Primary reply due by
Thursday and secondary replies due by
Sunday, 11:59p EST
Critical writing assignment #3 due by
Sunday, 11:59pm EST.
Globalization of Media &
Pop culture
Pop culture & social
problems: Cause?
Solution? Catalyst for
Mix It Up : Chapter 10
Connecting Social
Problems & Pop
Culture, Chapter 11
Read assigned chapters.
Work on Pop culture interview and
response paper.
No class Happy Thanksgiving!
Week 5
11/27 – 12/3
Studying pop culture: Pop
culture as a social
How the media and
culture industries work?
Mix It Up : Chapters
5 & 6
Connecting Social
Problems & Pop
Culture, Chapter 5
Discussion Board: Primary reply due by
Thursday and secondary replies due by
Sunday, 11:59pm EST
Complete Pop culture interview and
response Due by Sunday 11:59 EST.
Week 6
12/4 – 12/10
Studying pop culture :
Audiences and
interpretations of popular
Living in the Material
World: Cultural
Consumption & Social
Class in America
Mix It Up : Chapter 8
Shively’s article via BB.
P. Dimaggio’s article via
Mix It Up : Chapter 7
Discussion Board: Primary reply due by
Thursday and secondary replies due by
Sunday, 11:59pm EST
Work on Final Project.
Week 7
12/11 – 12/16
Final Project
Uptown Funk: Pop culture
& Urban Life in the City
Popular Culture and Mass
Media in the Digital Age,
and Social Movements/
Mix It Up : Chapter 9
Limor Shifman, MEMES
via BB, Chapters 8 & 9
Discussion Board: Primary reply due by
Thursday and secondary replies due by
Sunday, 11:59pm EST
Complete Final Project : Due by
12/16/2017@ 11:59pm EST
Last Day of Classes: December 16, 2017
(Grades due by 12/19/2017 @2pm.)
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