Dead Head

This project provides students with the opportunity to explore an aspect of popular culture in greater detail.  You can choose something covered in the course or a related topic.  The possibilities are endless.  You could, for example, do some research on the “Dead Head” culture surrounding the Grateful Dead, or the genre of horror movies, or a favorite TV show, or a fashion trend, or ritualized behaviors of sports fans, or . . .  If you have trouble choosing a topic please contact me and we can brainstorm some ideas based on your general interests.  Because we also offer a course specifically on social media, you should not choose social media as the main focus of your project for this class (although it may be a minor component of your larger topic).

Your project should include both the cultural elements of your topic and the meanings attributed to it as well as the social structural elements that are part of its production and consumption.  If, for example, your topic is the Grateful Dead, you would focus on the reasons for their popularity, the particular audience they appeal to, the tie-dyed hippie subculture they came to be associated with, and the interpretative meanings of their most popular songs (all cultural elements).  For the structural elements, you could analyze how they got their start, how were they “discovered,” who produced their records, how they were distributed, who made money (and how much) from their tours, and so on.  Your project must make use of concepts and perspectives covered in this class, particularly in the readings.

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Your proposal should be a Word document and must follow the general guidelines for the paper (see above).  Your proposal should be at least one full paragraph explaining the focus of your project and must include a preliminary list of sources that you anticipate using.  The sources you end up using may change but you need to do enough research prior to submitting the proposal to ensure that you will be able to find the information that you need.  Include a list of questions that you plan to explore that includes both the cultural and structural elements discussed above.


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