Minor in Popular Culture

This 18-hour program introduces students to the major genres and media of mass produced expression -- everthing from blockbuster entertainment to architecture, religion, and politics.


The Minor in Popular Culture provides an understanding of the broadly shared cultures made possible by mass production. Popular culture includes all widely practiced and distributed expressions: news; entertainment; religion; sports; popular art; and styles of decoration, dress, and architecture.Familiarity with the forces that shape its production, and the uses that can be made of it by its audiences, allows students to develop skills fundamental to life in a consumer-capitalist economy and citizenship in an information age. 

Minors learn the history of mass culture over the last few centuries, beginning with the invention of the printing press and the rise of mass literacy.  The program addresses the role of technological and economic change in the development of popular culture, and then studies current theories and research.  It focuses on the industries that produce and profit from mass culture, the audiences that make use of it, and the genres of design, entertainment, and enlightenment.  Minors examine the uses of mass culture by politicians, entertainment companies, consumer-marketers, religious authorities, educators, designers, engineers, and various groups of consumers themselves.  Topics include the rise of consumer capitalism, the state of mainstream religion, the roles of popular news and entertainment, the effects on audiences of mass media, and the postmodern turns in religion, entertainment, and design.


  1. How can I add the minor?
  2. Do I have to meet with anyone first?
  3. Can I finish the minor by the time I want to graduate?
  4. What classes are offered next semester?
  5. Are the courses hard?



  1. Just fill out a form with Doris Shelor in Lane Hall 114. She's there during business hours.
  2. Make an appointment with the professor who coordinates the minor. Email Dr. Emily Satterwhite.
  3. Most of the courses are offered each semester, and all of them are offered each year. In cases where that doesn't happen, we allow substitutions to the checksheet. Just email or talk with the minor coordinator Emily Satterwhite about that.
  4. To see what courses are offered next semester, check out the Upcoming Courses page, updated each semester right before advising/early registration time.
  5. Some of the courses are taught at the upper division level and require understanding of advanced theories of mass production (history, marketing, economy, sociology, geography), structuralism (literature, film studies, linguistics), and consumer/audience response (sociology, communication). Hard work is good for you!





Students who want more information or who wish to complete this minor should consult the minor coordinators, Dr. Emily Satterwhite and Dr. Michael Saffle