CLST 339
Spring 2003

Kathleen Fitzpatrick
Department of English
Pomona College

  T 7:00-9:30 Crookshank 110
  Office Hours: W/TH 9:00-11:00 E-mail: kfitzpatrick@pomona.edu

Television is, in many respects, among the most important and yet conflicted forms of American popular culture available for study today. It is at one and the same time an expression of popular values and a manipulation of those values; it is an overwhelmingly "top-down" cultural formation that is nonetheless used by its viewers in creative and interesting ways. For these and many other reasons, television is the object of both academic fascination and academic anxiety, and thus serves as a useful case study for those interested in critical approaches to popular culture. In this course, we'll study television from a number of perspectives, exploring both the form itself -- its technological structures, its historical development, and its cultural work -- and the academic writing produced around the form, writing both of celebration and condemnation. Throughout this study, we'll also maintain an interest in how this critical work surrounding television can inform the study of other aspects of popular culture.