POPC 2600: Popular Culture Research

This research methods course helps Popular Culture majors and minors understand the process of conducting popular culture research. Students speak with popular culture scholars about their work, learn the major theoretical concepts and methods used in the field, and conduct their own original research project on areas of popular culture that interest them. Click here for the
class blog.

Graduate seminar in TV comedy, Spring 2013

POPC 6800: TV Comedy is a 3-credit grad seminar will look at many varieties of televised comedy, including sitcoms, stand-up, sketch comedy, animated comedy, and hybrid genres (comedy/reality, stand-up/sitcom, stand-up/reality, mockumentaries, fake news).

Areas of focus include:
  • cultural politics: how do various comedic formats allow for or preclude critical engagement with hegemonic beliefs about gender, race, class, and sexual orientation?
  • comedy criticism: what expectations do scholars and popular audiences bring to their reception of comedic texts, particularly of the possibility and desirability of integrating politics with comedy?
  • aesthetics: what makes comedy funny or unfunny? what role do quality, aesthetics, and performance play in the political or comedic success or failure of a comedic text?

Comics  analyzed include:
  • Dave Chappelle
  • Margaret Cho
  • Stephen Colbert
  • Bill Cosby
  • Ellen DeGeneres
  • Kathy Griffin
  • Richard Pryor
  • Roseanne
  • John Stewart
  • Wanda Sykes

Shows analyzed include:
  • All American Girl
  • Chappelle's Show
  • The Cosby Show
  • Ellen
  • In Living Color
  • Modern Family
  • The Office
  • Saturday Night Live
  • The Simpsons
  • South Park
  • Will and Grace
This class may have a waitlist, and priority will be given to students with a background in humanities who are pursuing media studies as their primary area of research. If you would like to be added to the waitlist, email me (bcragin AT bgsu DOT edu) with:
  • full name
  • P number
  • current degree program
  • reason for taking the course

Foundations of Feminist Theory, Fall 2012

This fall I am teaching Foundations of Feminist Theory. I am really looking forward to digging in to lots of old-time texts from the 1920s, 1960s, and even the 1890s. The course will provide an introduction to the history of feminist thought, which can serve as a foundation for research into and understanding of contemporary feminist work. We'll use this historical perspective to understand how the development of theory is affected by the political and intellectual work preceding it and contemporaneously surrounding it. Because of the diversity of women’s experiences, feminists often disagree in their analyses of and tactics for countering their inequality; therefore, we will pay particular attention to the ways in which conflicts in feminism can be understood as reflections of these differing experiences and priorities. A strong background in feminist theory is not required to succeed in this course, but those who have such backgrounds should still find the seminar helpful.

Here's a link to the syllabus: