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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Economic and Social History

Undergraduate Course: Popular Culture and Society, 1880-1980 (ECSH10090)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryPopular culture ┐ defined here as the accumulated store of leisure activities and media content that a considerable amount of people has a stake in ┐ was an increasingly important feature of 20th century Western societies. Ever more time and a growing share of people┐s incomes were allotted to the consumption of popular culture. Popular culture was distributed around the world, was celebrated and castigated, came to be seen as a marker of identity and status, a factor of modernization and social integration, and a mirror of values, norms and beliefs.

The course intends to give both a general overview over key trends in the history of popular culture from the late 19th to the late 20th century and introduce students to central debates in historical and social scientific research on the topic. Looking at evidence from different realms of popular culture such as popular music, cinema, advertising and sport in Britain, the US and Germany, the lectures and seminars take technological and regulatory caesura as an orientation and discuss prominent aspects of the relationship between popular culture and society. Keeping in mind the questions of cultural change and the societal effect of popular culture, the course covers aspects from leisure and social control to the globalization of popular culture, state interference with culture and pop as a medium of identity. This will be done on the basis of key historiographical and sociological readings and presentations of sources.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Personal Tutors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Secretary to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503783).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesStandard VS pre-reqs for this level in this Subject Area
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. An in-depth knowledge of a relevant subject in 20th century Western history.
  2. An ability, independently, to identify and pursue research topics and relevant theoretical questions in the fields touched upon in the seminar.
  3. An understanding of different conceptual approaches to the study of history, and an understanding of the strengths and limits of theoretical approaches.
  4. An ability to analyse and contextualize primary source material and to arrive at independent, well-argued, well-documented and properly referenced conclusions in their essay.
  5. Their skills in group discussion and their written, analytical and theoretical skills in essay writing.
Reading List
1. W. Griswold, Cultures and Societies in a Changing World (Thousand Oaks, 2004)
2. S. Hall, Notes on Deconstructing ┐The Popular┐ (1981), in: R. Samuel, ed., People┐s History and Socialist Theory (London, 1981), 227-239
3. R. A. Peterson, Why 1955? Explaining the Advent of Rock Music, in: Popular Music 9, 1 (1990), 97-116
4. R. Altman, Silent Film Sound (New York, 2004)
5. K. Hagstrom Miller, Segregating Sound: Inventing Folk and Pop Music in the Age of Jim Crow (Durham, 2010)
6. C. Ross, Media and the Making of Modern Germany: Mass Communications, Society and Politics from the Empire to the Third Reich (Oxford, 2008)
7. A. Horn, Juke Box Britain: Americanisation and Youth Culture, 1945-60 (Manchester, 2009)
8. J. Nott, Music for the People: Popular Music and Dance in Interwar Britain (Oxford, 2002)
9. J. P. Kraft, Stage to Studio: Musicians and the Sound Revolution, 1890-1950s (Baltimore, 1996)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsPopular Culture and Society
Course organiserDr Klaus Nathaus
Tel: (0131 6)51 1925
Course secretaryMrs Caroline Cullen
Tel: (0131 6)50 3781
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