January 10, 2008
This course uses popular culture as the topic for your writing and analysis. Like any subject, popular
culture has primary sources or objects of analysis of analysis and secondary sources.
What is a primary source?
Original work, different disciplines has different primary sources (In sciences, a first-hand
report would be considered a primary source.)
Primary sources are NOT mediated; you encounter these sources without a second party
explaining them to you.
What is a secondary source?
Reports, describes, comments on, analyzes someone else’s work
A secondary source usually analyzes a primary source. Although there are cases where a
secondary source analyses a secondary source.
Another person comes between your and the primary source. (A source of bias. The author’s
beliefs propel his argument.)
In this course, we are to spot the inconsistencies of secondary sources because of the source of bias.
In this course, we will use both our primary and secondary sources in order to practice a number of
different types of academic writing.
We will use the following genres:
Argument: where you write an essay arguing for a debatable point; construct an argument about a
primary source, partly by employing the insights you gain from secondary sources.
Analysis or an argument/rhetorical analysis: an essay that analyses how a writer has constructed
an argumentative piece, identifying its major points , as well as its strengths and weaknesses, as
well as identifying bias (analysis of a secondary source)
Reading for Today: M. Petracca and M. Sorapure, “Reading and Writing About American Popular
Key terms: Popular, culture
- folk culture
(Traditional arts, dance and dress.), folk culture artifacts and practices, oral
, tradition, past, community, lasting,
- high culture
(Opera houses, mansions, BMWs), high cultural artifacts and practices (Associated with
the elite culture. Passed on through written works.), written communication
, tradition, past, community,
(Highly commercially oriented.), immediate
, contemporary, novel, transitory, shared,
transcends barriers, everyday life
(media, technology, communication)
- subculture and counter culture (Hippies in the 1960’s.)
Next class: writing a paragraph on popular culture. Draw backs and negative setbacks of popular culture.
Points from reading: Popular Culture
“…perhaps the most important facts about people have always been encoded within the ordinary
and the commonplace.” – George Lipsitz