Pop culture is possibly my favorite subject. There’s just something fun and intriguing about studying the Muppets, Grey’s Anatomy, or sports. At my school, there is a course focusing on the Twilight phenomenon and youth culture and a course studying The Beatles’ impact on music in the 1960s. Some might think these are classes that should not be taught on a college campus, but many think that they are a great way to analyze how current trends affect our culture.
The first man to define pop culture as an academic discipline was Ray Browne, a professor at Bowling Green State University. Browne died on October 22, 2009, from natural causes. Browne founded the first department of pop culture studies in 1973.
Browne was a highly respected professor at Bowling Green State University for 25 years. His many accomplishments include writing almost 12 books and editing more than 40 other books. He earned his master’s degree in English and comparative literature from Columbia University and his doctorate from UCLA.
Why would such an intelligent man decide to study things like Tupperware, tarot cards, and Harlequin romances?
Browne said that pop culture was the “seedbed in which democracy grows. It is the everyday world around us – the mass media, entertainments and diversions. It is our heroes, icons, rituals, everyday actions, psychology and religion – our total life picture. It is the way of living we inherit, practice and modify as we please, and how we do it. It is the dreams we dream while asleep.”
So, if like me, you want to enroll in a class about the Simpsons or Harry Potter next semester, say a silent thank you to Ray Browne, the father of pop culture.
Via New York Times.