Seminars in this Learning Community will explore film, music, literature, and other forms of popular culture. As we study various media, we will investigate how our love of particular genres and texts shapes our identities. Whether it is writers from around the globe or “alternative culture” here in Austin, we will examine how popular culture impacts our world.

Signature events include: Austin Recording Studio Visit; Texas Book Festival trip; Austin Movie Studio Tour; Film Screenings

Pop Culture! Pop Culture Learning Community

Exploring “Alternative” Culture in Austin and Beyond

Exploring “Alternative” Culture in Austin and Beyond
Faculty member teaching this course: Todd Onderdonk

This seminar will focus on the various aspects of pop culture that get labeled “Alternative,” examining these often countercultural forms of expression—including music, films, social media and online phenomena, fashion, video games, Netflix offerings—from a number of critical and appreciative perspectives. Our inquiry will be guided by student interests, and draw on Austin itself as a famously alternative city, examining its cultural offerings, communities, and “weirdness” as both myth and reality.  

Film as Text

Film as Text 
Faculty member teaching this course: Amy Adams

Films are a very powerful reflection of popular culture. Many rhetorical experts argue that film is one of the most powerful mediums because of its ability to deliver pathos, complex concepts, and messages — on multiple levels — all at the same time. In this seminar, we will look at some important films to see what they say about us and what we say about them.

Other Stories: Global Influence in the Arts

Other Stories: Global Influence in the Arts 
Faculty member teaching this course: Michael Yang

  We often tend to see our world as a single story, one steeped in our perspective as Americans, without acknowledging the influence of the world around us. The interchange of ideas between different cultures is becoming increasingly integral as our global community expands. This seminar will ask you to think beyond the single story and examine writing, film, and other media and pop culture from the world around us.

Popular Music and Identity

Popular Music and Identity|
Faculty member teaching this course: David Uskovich

This course explores the relationship between popular music and society.  We will look at the ways that music reflects and challenges social conditions. The course also considers the ways that different social conditions give rise to different musical genres and how those genres create communities. We will also examine how different musical genres bind communities through the dislike as well as love of particular music.