Popular Culture
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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
Department: Art/Design Hist & Theory
Course Number: PGHT 5720
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Art History, Theory & Criticism
This course examines the intersection of the popular and the material in twentieth-century America. What is popular culture, and what does it reveal about life during the twentieth century? Is it a valid index? The course will be run as a seminar and will begin with an examination of theoretical constructs surrounding the study of popular culture including the perennial debate between high and low art. Topics will be taken from TV, movies, radio, and the like. Cars, sitcom interiors, Disneyana, costume jewelry, Barbie and her paraphernalia, film posters, packaging, fashion, the souvenir-are all potential areas of exploration. The new materials of the postwar world, such as plastic and aluminum, will be analyzed for their impact on design, the decorative arts, and contemporary life. So called "collectibles" will be explored within a political and postmodern context. Students will be expected to present and discuss popular objects considering the relationship of goods to class, kitsch, and gender.
Course Open to: Majors Only
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: All university graduate degree students.


Open to Graduate students.