Spring Seminar 2015 - Teaching Popular Culture and the Discourse of the University

Alfie Bown, University of Manchester

books & iPad

ESRI Seminar Series

Over the past twenty years 'popular culture' has become a 'topic' or 'theme' that is covered on arts-based degree courses. This paper explores the effect of this change on the university and on the popular, and on the relationship between the two. The media has had much to say on the matter and has issued criticism, skepticism and occasionally backing of seemingly 'unusual' course modules such as 'Beyoncé Studies,' 'Jedi Studies' and 'David Beckham Studies.' Ostensibly there are three discourses at work here: the university, the media, and the popular. Using a Lacanian framework, the paper speculates on a new set of relations between the three and what this

Alfie Bown is in the department of English and American Studies at The University of Manchester. His project, Everyday Analysis, has a book out entitled Why Are Animals Funny? with Zero Books and another forthcoming in May 2015 called Twerking to Turking. His research interests are comedy and psychoanalysis.

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