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FIF 624 Pop Culture: More Than Mindless Entertainment

Course Description

Most adults spend a great deal of leisure time engaging with pop culture. We watch our favourite shows or go to movies because we enjoy them, but does that mean they are mindless entertainment? Can fiction teach its audience something about serious, real-life issues? If so, does pop culture educate or miseducate? Or, can it do both? Many people have accepted the idea that pop culture influences children and youth. Much less attention has been directed to the same possibility for adults. Explore how tv shows, movies, and songs teach their adult audiences about important issues. We will use the television show Grey’s Anatomy as an example. Viewing segments of it together, we will identify some of the real-life issues that are raised in the show; how the show represents those issues through characters, storylines, and settings; impressions and lessons that are created for and by viewers; the importance of emotions in audience members’ responses; and how viewers might respond in new and different – and more critical – ways. Following the viewing and discussion of Grey's Anatomy, you will have opportunities to consider and share examples of other pop culture texts that you know and love.

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