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ERIC Number: ED318029
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990-Mar
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Composition and the Study of Popular Culture.
Mulcaire, Terry; Grady, Frank
A required freshman English course at Berkeley was designed on the assumption that: (1) students have already developed a set of sophisticated skills for reading popular culture texts--movies, television, and commercial literary genres--against and in terms of one another; and (2) these skills are not categorically different from those inculcated by teachers of composition or used by literary critics. Juxtaposing popular and elite texts reveals their affiliations and similarities and produces critical insights into both that students are not afraid to own. The class syllabus reflected a horizontal model of culture (rather than a "high" culture vs. "low" culture vertical model), ranging from comic books to Shakespeare, and including several trips to the movies. Such courses could be built around a wide range of themes but would all thematize revision, require instructors to allow students to assert their authority over texts, and subordinate instructors' authority on matters of taste to their authority over questions of compositional technique. It is not the job of the academy to determine cultural standards or to hand down to an uncertainly appreciative audience a model constructed in institutional privacy. Rather, students should be taught to think critically about their own standards and everyone else's, and about the culture of which they are all a part. The practice of composition and the practice of studying culture amount to the same thing. (SR)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A