Trip Itinerary (Course Description): This course, structured like a road trip, surveys American popular culture and folklife, synthesizing material from a variety of popular and folk genres. Issues of location will help us navigate this diverse interpretive terrain. By locating popular and folk cultures within specific geographies—gendered, raced, ethnic, sexualized, and class contexts—we will map a clearer understanding of the roles of a range of popular and folk texts in American culture. Additionally, we will be concerned with locating and exploring the various connecting points among rural, urban, “extreme”, and virtual cultures, which compose the four major units or “stops” of this class. We will also closely inspect the vehicles (or genres) of popular and folk cultures—literature, media, entertainment, music, and film. By the end of this semester, students should be competent “drivers” of—and maybe even a bit of a “mechanic” for—several different popular and folk vehicles. That is, this course will sharpen the skills crucial to success in college: namely critical thinking as well as written and oral communication skills. Additionally, as members of a first-year seminar, students will complete required activities that will help familiarize them with the Stockton community.
Learning Goals: In particular, this course has two essential goals. Students should:
- Learn to apply course material (e.g., successfully complete assignments to demonstrate your understanding of and ability to apply course material)
- Learn to analyze and critically evaluate ideas (e.g., critically evaluate a range of popular and folk texts and cultures)
Other important goals for this course include:
- Developing skill in expressing yourself in orally and in writing (e.g., sharpening your critical writing, speaking, and analysis skills through formal and informal assignments)
- Gaining a broader understanding and appreciation of intellectual/cultural activities (e.g., the aim of this course is to learn to appreciate popular and folk cultures as more than entertainment)
For more information see the GAH1056 Syllabus.