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Popular Culture: Home

Comics, fan culture, memes, transformative works

Do Academics Study Pop Culture?

YES.

Scholars and academics are often fans.

"Popular culture studies is the academic discipline studying popular culture [a.k.a. pop culture] from a critical theory perspective. It is generally considered as a combination of communication studies and cultural studies. ... Conceptual barriers between so-called high and low culture have broken down, accompanying an explosion in scholarly interest in popular culture, which encompasses such diverse media as comic books, television, and the Internet."

-Wikipedia entry on Popular Culture Studies

Search terms

Here is a sample of relevant subject terms for the OPAC as well as for the research databases:

  • Popular culture
  • Characters & characteristics in motion pictures
  • Comic books, strips, etc.
  • Cosplay
  • Fans (Persons)
  • Interactive fiction
  • Korean pop music
  • Memes
  • Motion picture audiences
  • Motion pictures - Social aspects
  • Social media
  • Technological innovations - Social aspects
  • Television series
  • Video games
  • Video gamers

Keywords and Phrases:

  • fandom
  • "transformative culture"
  • "mass media"
  • "cultural studies"

Quality Sources

Here is a sample of academic and peer-reviewed journals available in our research databases.

Sample titles:

  • Journal of Popular Culture
  • International Journal of Comic Art
  • Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education
  • Journal of Popular Film & Television
  • Studies in Comics

and many more

JSTOR is a good resource for researching historical pop culture and trends. They even have a topic page on Popular Culture.

Sample titles:

  • Popular Music

Open Access Academic Journals

Additional Online Resources

Fan studies
Comics
Music
Memes
  • Know Your Meme - general,non-academic history of viral images and videos

Finding Context

If you are having trouble finding good quality sources on a specific trend, web site, or video game, research its history. Although it may seem as if they pop out of nowhere, all ideas have a past. Find its roots. Put it into context.

  • Research the creators or developers - what other content have they made? Is it in the same genre?
  • For disruptive ideas, research the industry it is transforming.
  • Has someone borrowed a concept or process from another industry or culture? Look into its original context.

Here are are some sources:

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