This is an archive of the 2019-2020 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, Please visit

This is an archive of the 2019-2020 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit


Program: Minor in Popular Culture Studies

Program Description

The minor in Popular Culture Studies teaches methods for critically understanding popular culture, including popular literature and art, entertainment media, social media, fashion, design, sports, music, performance, folklore, pastimes and rituals, and all forms of popular cultural expression, as well as the ways we live our everyday lives. This minor recognizes that pop culture is an important source of ideological, moral and political messages as well as aesthetic pleasure and recreation. Studying the forces that shape pop culture, and the ways we may respond and contribute to pop culture, gives vital insight into daily life, citizenship and what it means to participate in society. Furthermore, studying pop culture offers the advantage of deep critical and historical understanding for those who may want to work in entertainment media or advertising, as well as teachers who may want to use popular culture in their classrooms.

This minor defines popular culture broadly as a global, multicultural phenomenon that embraces not only industrialized mass culture (the texts, images, products, genres, and styles created or spread via mass media) but also cultural expression at the individual and grassroots levels, as well as folk culture and communal ways of life. Students in the minor learn to analyze popular texts, media and pastimes critically, to understand and engage with related theories, and to reflect on the connections between popular culture and identity.

Many courses in the minor satisfy General Education requirements or may be used as electives or requirements in various majors. ENGL 421A-Z may be taken twice for credit: once as a core course and once as an elective, provided the topics are different.

Program Requirements

1. Core Courses (9 units)

ENGL 312 Literature and Film (3)
ENGL 313 Studies in Popular Culture (3)
ENGL 421A-Z Selected Topics in Popular Culture (3)

2. Electives (9 units)

Select elective courses from at least two different departments.

AAS 230 Asian Americans and the Media (3)
AAS 430 Asian American Popular Culture (3)
AFRS 100 Introduction to Black Studies and Culture (3)
AFRS 246 Introduction to African-American Drama (3)
AFRS 252 Popular Culture in the Black World (3)
AFRS 332 African-American Music I (3)
AFRS 337 Black Images on the Silver Screen (3)
AFRS 345 African-American Autobiography (3)
AFRS 368 Politics of Hip Hop (3)
AFRS 447 African-American Theater (3)
AFRS 451 Mass Communication in the African-American Community (3)
AIS 301 American Indians and Popular Culture (3)
ANTH 326 Introduction to Folklore (3)
ART 305 Art and Mass Culture (3)
ART 448 History of Contemporary Art (3)
ART 461 History of Graphic Arts (3)
ART 462 History of Photography (3)
CHS 111 The Chicana/o and the Arts (3)
CHS 306 The Chicana/o in Films (3)
CHS 405 Chicanas/os and the Media (3)
COMS 301 Performance, Language and Cultural Studies (3)
COMS 356 Intercultural Communication (3)
COMS 401 Performance and Social Change (3)
COMS 440 Performance and Cultural Studies Criticism (3)
COMS 445 Communication and Popular Cultures (3)
CTVA 100 Introduction to Mass Communication Arts (3)
CTVA 210 Television-Film Aesthetics (3)
CTVA 309 Film as Literature (3)
ENGL 253 Bestselling Literature (3)
ENGL 254 Popular Literary Genres (3)
ENGL 315 Digital Writing (3)
ENGL 333 Comics and Graphic Novels (3)
ENGL 370 Science Fiction (3)
ENGL 405 Language Differences and Language Change (3)
ENGL 428 Children’s Literature (3)
ENGL 429 Literature for Adolescents (3)
ENGL 430 Literature and the Visual Arts (3)
FCS 255 The Fashion Industry (3)
GWS 410 Sex, Lies and Media (3)
JOUR 250 Visual Communication (3)
JOUR 372 Diversity and the Media (3)
JOUR 465 Mass Communication and Popular Culture (3)
LING 325 Language, Gender, and Identity (3)
LING 406 Language and Social Interaction (3)
MUS 106HH Hip Hop Music (3)
MUS 107 Music Today (3)
MUS 108 Music in Film (3)
MUS 306 Introduction to Jazz (3)
MUS 309 Traditional Music of the U.S. (3)
MUS 310 Understanding World Cultures Through Music (3)
PHIL 170 Philosophy and Popular Culture (3)
RS 311 Religion and Film (3)
RTM 278 Recreation and Leisure in Contemporary Society (3)

Total Units in the Minor: 18


Department of English
Chair: Beth Wightman
Associate Chair: Anthony Dawahare
Sierra Tower (ST) 708
(818) 677-3431

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Define popular culture and its parameters.
  2. Apply critical thinking to popular culture.
  3. Apply and critically engage with theories relevant to the study of popular culture.
  4. Research, critically evaluate, respond to and ethically use information sources in popular culture studies.