“I Think of Him as an Ancestor”: Tupac Shakur Fans and the Intimacy of Pop Cultural Heritage

By : Amanda
We consider the ways intimacy with pop cultural icons works as a type of heritage. Based on interviews with Tupac Shakur fans about his recent biopic and their histories with the rapper’s music, we demonstrate the emotional investments fans have in the artist’s image and their individual and communal connections to his memory. The 2017 biopic All Eyez on Me (AEoM) sparked public discussion of Shakur’s legacy and prompted his fans to reflect on the importance of his work in their identity development. Specifically, they connected with him through deeply felt moments of commonality and family experience. Revisiting their connection to Shakur through the biopic functioned as intimate heritage, as fans used a variety of mediated forms to reflect on their lives through the symbolic record of Shakur’s life. Therefore, the movie’s content was secondary to the ways a mediated discussion of the artist facilitated fans’ self-reflection.

Full text here.

Audiences Beyond Ratings: How We Read the Rhetorics of Media

By : Amanda
This course is an exploration of the history, theories, and methods used to understand media audiences from a critical/cultural rhetorical and media studies perspective, emphasizing the ways audience identities (e.g. race, gender, sexuality, class) influence media interaction. Upper division proposal syllabus here.

Freshman Honors forum syllabus here.

Message Design and Writing for Media

By : Amanda
This course addresses the styles and functions of various types of scripts for print, radio, film, television, and the internet. While learning to adhere to industry formats is the primary skill you will learn in this class, there is also ample opportunity for you to fine-tune and improve your creative writing skills. The primary purpose of this course is to build your writing skills and expose you to the challenges of collaborative and independent media writing. Though media writing environments differ, a number of elements are consistent across this and related industries. This course aims to introduce you to the pleasures and demands of work within a writing profession, and to help you develop the skills necessary to meet those demands.


Syllabus here.

Sound Studies

By : Amanda
This graduate level seminar provides students with a comprehensive grounding in historical and contemporary theories of sonic meaning and their application in understanding American cultural formations. Students will read key works that are foundational to the development of the growing sub-field of sound studies and consider the ways these theories can be placed in conversation with more traditional texts from American studies, cultural theory, and history. Students will also be encouraged to bring perspectives they have adopted from other coursework so as to further ground the study of sound in other approaches to American studies, history, critical race theory, technology studies, gender studies, disability studies, rhetoric and composition, and communication theory.

Syllabus here.

Cultural Studies

By : Amanda

Rooted in the work of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (sometimes called The Birmingham School) in 1960s and 1970s, the British Cultural Studies tradition approaches scholarship from the premise that “culture is ordinary” (Williams, 1958). In other words, to fully understand the ways power, agency, structure, and resistance operate, we must take seriously the everyday experiences of regular people as cultural producers and consumers.

 This course is an immersive experience in Cultural Studies through two dimensions. First, you will come away from the course with an understanding of the theoretical and analytical perspectives of cultural studies. To that end, we will root our study in the works of scholars like Stuart Hall, Richard Johnson, Angela McRobbie, and Julie D’Acci and embrace the critical lenses of feminist, critical race, social class, queer, and disability studies. Second, you should gain experience with the path to publication in the Cultural Studies tradition. Thus, we will practice the complete process of drafting, revising, soliciting feedback, and submitting work for publication (8000) or a conference (7000).

Syllabus here.

Television Criticism

By : Amanda

This course aims to equip students with the skills to be thoughtful and critical media consumers. To this end, we will approach television programming from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives.

Syllabus here.

Rhetoric/Pop Culture

By : Amanda
This course is an investigation of rhetorics of U.S. culture with a focus on how constructions of class, gender, race, and sexuality work in contemporary television, film, music, and advertising. The course prepares students to explain the ways rhetoric and culture shape our world, connect popular artifacts with cultural history, analyze popular culture using rhetorical methods, and build skills in oral and visual argument.

Syllabus here.

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