Higher Education

The Pop Culture Zone: Writing Critically about Popular Culture, 1st Edition

  • Allison D. Smith Middle Tennessee State University
  • Trixie G. Smith Michigan State University
  • Stacia Watkins Middle Tennessee State University
  • ISBN-10: 1428205063  |  ISBN-13: 9781428205062
  • 816 Pages
  • © 2009 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $99.75
  • Newer Edition Available
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About

Overview

Pop culture is the bridge between students’ lives and the critical reading, thinking, and writing that are part of freshman composition. THE POP CULTURE ZONE: WRITING CRITICALLY ABOUT POPULAR CULTURE focuses on the relationship students have with pop culture--such as film, television, popular literature, and advertisements--and how this relationship can help them become more critical readers and writers. Why bring pop culture into the composition classroom? It’s something students know and can get passionate about. In this book, students learn to listen to viewpoints that differ from their own, summarize their views effectively, compare and contrast, and present their ideas in a way that creates a continuing conversation of ideas.

Features and Benefits

  • Each chapter’s readings are organized by decades (70s to 00s and Across the Decades) and include examples from a variety of disciplines such as English, theatre, sociology, geography, political science, communications, and music. Each chapter includes student and professional writers as well as examples of review, reflection/response, analysis, and synthesis essays. The readings were selected to encompass multiple viewpoints and perspectives: liberal and conservative, biased and unbiased, pro and con.
  • Because pop culture often includes visual material rather than written text, 130 photos and visuals are used throughout the text. In addition, the reading selections contain samples of visual essays, and visual essays are offered as alternative assignments.
  • In the “The Content Zone” (chapters 4-10), students are encouraged to make choices, disagree with readings, and discuss with their peers and others about interpretations and the importance of pop culture. This text meets students where they are and then asks them to do what they already do when they choose to watch a particular television show or read multiple books in the same pop literature series--critique, review, and then present supporting evidence.
  • THE POP CULTURE ZONE: WRITING CRITICALLY ABOUT POPULAR CULTURE includes writing apparatus both in Chapter 2 (“Writing in the Pop Culture Zone”) and at the beginning of each content chapter, assistance often missing from pop culture readers. Also included is a unique sample essay for each content area that has been annotated to help students see what makes for good organization or good detail when pop culture is the subject. Chapter 11 contains guidelines for connecting research around specific pop culture media and themes--another feature unique to this market--as well as MLA and APA guidelines.
  • Test Your Pop Culture IQ. At the beginning of each chapter, there’s a short pop culture quiz that students and teachers can take to see how much they do (or don’t) know about the content area. The quizzes provide a fun and engaging way to jump-start critical thinking, help make connections to pop culture, and create the cognitive dissonance that leads to active engagement and learning.

Table of Contents

Section I: INTRODUCTION TO WRITING ABOUT POPULAR CULTURE.
1. The Pop Culture Zone.
2. Writing in the Pop Culture Zone.
Synthesis, Ben Strickland.
3. Defining Pop Culture.
The Oprah Effect, Carmen Wong Ulrich.
Section II: THE CONTENT ZONE.
4. Writing about Advertisements.
Sample Essay: Advertising: Keeping Sexism Alive, Cathy McBride. Reading Selections: The 70s. After the Blackout, Time Magazine. My Father’s Closet, John Seabrook. Reading Selections: The 80s. Marketing in Color: New Niches Flow into the Mainstream, Leon E. Wynter. Keep Ads Out of Books, Murray L. Bob. Reading Selections: The 90s. Profitability, Diversity, and Disability Images in Advertising in the United States and Great Britain, Beth A. Haller and Sue Ralph. Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising, Anthony J. Cortese. Reading Selections: The 00s. Ads Ad Nauseum, Kathryn Balint. No Escape from Ads, Even in the Backseat, Lenore Skenazy. The Battle for Advertising: Internet Giants Get Ready for Full Combat, Iain S. Bruce. Reading Selections: Across the Decades. Defining Trade Characters and Their Role in American Popular Culture, Barbara J. Phillips. Merchandising Madness: Pills, Promises, and Better Living Through Chemistry, Lawrence C. Rubin.
5. Writing about Film.
Sample Essay: 1968 Resonates in 2004: 2001: A Space Odyssey and the Devolution of the Science Fiction Film, Chris Driver. Reading Selections: The 70s. May the Force Be With You, and You, and You…, Clive Thompson. What is the Godfather Saying?, Jay Cocks. The Pleasures of Disappointment: Sequels and the Godfather, Part II, Todd Berliner. Reading Selections: The 80s. John Hughes Goes Deep: The Unexpected Heaviosity of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Steve Almond. Reading Selections: The 90s. Revelations, Spike Lee. Reading Selections: A Case Study from the 00s. Fahrenheit 9/11: Review, Peter Travers. Movie Review: Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Wilmington. Sub-par Propaganda, Glenn Lovell. Reading Selections: Across the Decades. Disney’s Dolls, Kathy Maio. Why I’m Not Bored, Stanley Kauffmann. Alfred Hitchcock: A Hank of Hair and a Piece of Bone, Alan Vanneman.
6. Writing about Groups, Spaces, and Places.
Sample Essay: You’re the Tops, Nika Hazelton. Reading Selections: The 70s. Disco Dance Introduction, Janet J. Jasek. The Ship Shape, David Sedaris. Reading Selections: The 80s. Mallingering, William Severini Kowinski. Reagan-Bush at 9: Passing on the Legacy of Shame, Ralph Nader and Mark Green. Reading Selections: The 90s. Black Sorority Boom: Ninety Years After the First Group Was Founded, Membership and Enthusiasm Are Thriving, Ebony. Bold New City or Built-Up ‘Burb’? Redefining Contemporary Suburbia, William Sharpe and Leonard Wallock. Reading Selections: The 00s. NASCAR Racing Fans: Cranking Up an Empirical Approach, M. Graham Spann. The National Storytelling Festival, Mike Caplanis. A Case Study. Paradise Ruined: A Guidebook Writer’s Lament, Joy Williams. Greetings from the Florida Keys and Key West, The Monroe County Tourist Development Council. Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffet. More Key West Hotels Going Offline, Cayo Dave. Reading Selections: Across the Decades. Hitler Did Fine, I Can Do Better, Shari Caudron. Ladies of the White Gloves: Riding with Pride, Dianna Baldwin. Job Corps, AmeriCorps, and Peace Corps: An Overview, Kevin M. McCarron.
7. Writing about Music.
Sample Essay: The Triple-Threat Folk Hero, David Cantwell. Reading Selections: The 70s. Bob Marley: Music Man with a Mission, Michael A. Stusser. Crossing the Border, Greil Marcus. Reading Selections: The 80s. Controversy, Kevin Phinney. Reading Selections: The 90s. Romancing the Record: The Vinyl De-Evolution and Sub-cultural Evolution, George Plasketes. Rap of the Ages: Tracking the Highs and Lows of Nearly 20 Years, Havelock Nelson and Gerrie E. Summers. Within You, Without You: The Guitarist’s Search for Spiritual Meaning, Chris Gill, James Rotondi, and Jas Obrecht. Reading Selections: The 00s. Static Minds, John Vandenberg. Technology and Music Piracy: Has the Recording Industry Lost Sales?, Don Cusic, Gregory K. Faulk, and Robert P. Lambert. Reading Selections: Across the Decades. The Writings of Lester Bangs Rise Again in ‘Psychotic Reactions,’ Gregory McNamee. Joe Strummer: 1952-2002, Theodore Matula. A Case Study. ‘Bitch’ and Lilith Fair: Resisting Anger, Celebrating Contradictions. Kalene Westmoreland. Bitch, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
8. Writing about Popular Literature.
Sample Essay: Rewriting the Romance, Lev Grossman. Reading Selections: The 70s. Love and Sex in the Romance Magazines, David Sonenschein. The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston. Reading Selections: The 80s. Inherited Haunts: Stephen King’s Terrible Children, Tony Magistrale. Mystery Fiction: Lesbian, Sally R. Munt. Reading Selections: The 90s. Life after Goosebumps: In the Wake of R.L. Stine’s Sizzling Chiller Series, the Kids’ Horror Genre Assumes Monstrous Proportions, Sally Lodge. The Ten Most Important Comic Books of the 1990s, Andy Smith. Reading Selections: The 00s. Taking Writing “Seriously” (Or How Fan Fiction Taught Me to Write), Hillary Robson. A Case Study. In Defense of Book Burning, Will Manley. Witch Hunt: Why the Religious Right is Crusading to Exorcise Harry Potter Books from Public Schools and Libraries, Rob Boston. Reading Selections: Across the Decades. A Walk on the Far Side: The Life and Times of Gary Larson, Kelly Ferguson. Reading: A Love Story (How It Begins), Vince Passaro. A Case Study. Mass Market Romance: Pornography for Women Is Different, Ann Barr Snitow. Women Read the Romance: The Interaction of Text and Context, Janice Radway. The Secret Life of Chikc Lit (Food Porn), Susan Wise Bauer.
9. Writing about Sports and Leisure.
Sample Essay: History at the Plate: The Value of Baseball in American Culture, Nicholas X. Bush. Reading Selections: The 70s. The Joy of Reprogramming Sport, Roger Kahn. Bille Jean Won for All Women, Larry Schwartz. Reading Selections: The 80s. How America Has Run Out of Time, Nancy Gibbs. Reading Selections: The 90s. ‘92 Loss to Duke Proved UK Could Win Again, Pat Forde. Skateboard Art, Steven Brower and John Gall. Reading Selections: A Case Study from the 00s. Caminiti Comes Clean: Ex-MVP Says He Won Award While Using Steroids, Sports Illustrated. Bats and Bodies: Both are Juiced, and It’s Just Another Black Eye for Baseball, Frank Deford. Bush Calls for Anti-doping Effort, CNN.COM. FDA Begins Crackdown on Supplement Andro, CNN.COM. Baseball Has A Day of Reckoning in Congress: McGuire Remains Evasive During Steroid Testimony, Dave Sheinin. Barry Bonds Took Steroids, Reports Everyone Who Has Ever Watched Baseball, The Onion. Reading Selections: Across the Decades. Fabic of Our Lives, Amei Wallach. How High Can You Go? Kevin Conley. A Wider World of Sports, Karl Taro Greenfeld.
10. Writing about Television.
Sample Essay: Timing is Everything: The Success of Dawson’s Creek and the Failure of My SO-Called Life, Andrew Coomes. Reading Selections: The 70s. The Black Scholar Forum: A Symposium on Roots. Roots: Melodrama of the Black Experience by Robert Staples. Roots: A Modern Minstrel Show by Clyde Taylor. Roots: Urban Renewal of the American Dream by Chinweizu. Roots: An Electronic Orgy in White Guilt by Chuck Stone. Roots: Rebirth of the Slave Mentality by Robert Chrisman. Reading Selections: The 80s. Roseanne: Unruly Woman as Domestic Goddess, Kathleen K. Rowe. Television Shapes the Soul, Michael Novak. Reading Selection: The 90s. Beavis and Butt-Head: No Future for Postmodern Youth, Douglas Kellner. Reading Selections: The 00s. The New Soaps? Laguna Beach, The Hills, and the Gendered Politics of Reality “Drama,” Elana Levine. Class Act, Rebecca Traister. Reading Selections: Across the Decades. A Case Study. Letter D Pulls Sponsorship from Sesame Street, The Onion. TV’s Coming-out Party, James Poniewozik and Jeanne McDowell. Sorry Situation, Mark Harris. Ralph, Fred, Archie, and Homer: Why Television Keeps Re-creating the White Male Working-Class Buffoon, Richard Butsch. Osama bin Laden Meets the South Park Kids, Lynn Spigel. Cartoons (Seriously) Can Teach Us About Faith, Mark I. Pinsky.
Section III: THE RESEARCH ZONE.
11. Researching and Documenting in the Pop Culture Zone.

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Bundle: The Pop Culture Zone: Writing Critically about Popular Culture + The Wadsworth Essential Reference Card to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 3rd

ISBN-10: 1111198896  | ISBN-13: 9781111198893

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  • The Pop Culture Zone: Writing Critically about Popular Culture
    List Price = $132.95  | CengageBrain Price = $132.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $99.75
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Printed Text + CourseReader 0-30: Pop Culture Instant Access Code

ISBN-10:  1133287638 | ISBN-13:  9781133287636

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Supplements

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Instructor Supplements

English 21: Handbooks 2-Semester (CengageNOW™, Personal Tutor, InfoTrac® 2-Semester) Instant Access Code  (ISBN-10: 0495799432 | ISBN-13: 9780495799436)

List Price = $44.00  | CengageBrain Price = $44.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $44.00

English 21 Plus: Handbooks 2-Semester (CengageNOW™, InSite, Personal Tutor, InfoTrac® 2-Semester) Instant Access Code  (ISBN-10: 0495799416 | ISBN-13: 9780495799412)

List Price = $69.00  | CengageBrain Price = $69.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $69.00

Teaching in the Pop Culture Zone: Using Popular Culture in the Composition Classroom  (ISBN-10: 1428231013 | ISBN-13: 9781428231016)

Authors/Editors: Allison D. Smith, Trixie G. Smith, and Rebecca Bobbitt. This Cengage/Wadsworth professional development text offers insights and strategies about using pop culture in the writing classroom. This volume is edited by the authors of The Pop Culture Zone: Writing Critically about Popular Culture and includes essays by authors who share details of their most effective class ideas and writing assignments.

List Price = $62.95  | CengageBrain Price = $62.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $47.00

Student Supplements

English 21: Handbooks 2-Semester (CengageNOW™, Personal Tutor, InfoTrac® 2-Semester) Instant Access Code  (ISBN-10: 0495799432 | ISBN-13: 9780495799436)

List Price = $44.00  | CengageBrain Price = $44.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $44.00

English 21 Plus: Handbooks 2-Semester (CengageNOW™, InSite, Personal Tutor, InfoTrac® 2-Semester) Instant Access Code  (ISBN-10: 0495799416 | ISBN-13: 9780495799412)

List Price = $69.00  | CengageBrain Price = $69.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $69.00

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Allison D. Smith

Allison D. Smith is professor of English and Coordinator of Graduate Teaching Assistants at Middle Tennessee State University. She received a BA in Teaching Language and Composition and an MA in Applied Linguistics from California State University, Long Beach and a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics/Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education from The University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign. Her primary teaching and research areas include writing pedagogy, writing about pop culture, writing assessment, discourse analysis, and pedagogical grammar. Recent publications include a book chapter in More Ways to Handle the Paper Load, an article on journal writing for the English Leadership Quarterly, and COMPbiblio: Leaders and Influences in Composition Theory and Practice, a book focusing on the career arcs of leaders in composition. In addition, she is one of the series editors for the Fountainhead Press X Series for Professional Development. She is the co-author of THE POP CULTURE ZONE: WRITING CRITICALLY ABOUT POPULAR CULTURE (Cengage/Wadsworth, 2009). She is an active participant in the National Council of Teachers of English, the Conference on Composition and Communication, and the Research Network Forum.

Trixie G. Smith

Trixie G. Smith is Director of The Writing Center and a member of the faculty in Rhetoric and Writing at Michigan State University. After earning a BA in English and Elementary Education from Mobile College, she spent several years teaching middle and high school students in southern Alabama. She then received an MA in English, an MLIS in Library and Information Science, and a Ph.D. in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of South Carolina, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies. Her teaching and research revolve around writing center theory and practice, writing across the curriculum, writing pedagogy, and teacher training. These areas often intersect with her interests in pop culture, service learning, gender studies, and activism. Recent and upcoming publications include a book chapter in (E)merging Identities: Graduate Students in the Writing Center, several articles in Southern Discourse, and COMPbiblio: Leaders and Influences in Composition Theory and Practice, a reference book focusing on the career arcs of leaders in composition studies; she is also one of the series editors for the Fountainhead Press X Series for Professional Development. She is the co-author of THE POP CULTURE ZONE: WRITING CRITICALLY ABOUT POPULAR CULTURE. She is an active participant in the National Council of Teachers of English, the Conference on Composition and Communication, the Research Network Forum, the National Writing Project, and the International Writing Center Association.

Stacia Watkins

Stacia Watkins is Assistant Coordinator of Graduate Teaching Assistants for the English Department at Middle Tennessee State University. She graduated from Western Kentucky University with a BA specializing in poetry writing in 2001 and from MTSU with an MA in English focused on television studies in 2004. Watkins is currently ABD and is finishing her dissertation in Rhetoric/Composition and Popular Culture at MTSU. After teaching high school and middle school, tutoring in the University Writing Center, serving as a mentor and an administrator for both the Writing and Teaching Assistants, and instructing several freshman English courses, she was awarded the John N. McDaniel Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006. Watkins has been published in COMPBIBLIO: LEADERS AND INFLUENCES IN COMPOSITION THEORY AND PRACTICE, and in SOUTERN DISCOURSE, and she is currently collaborating on the freshman text THE POP CULTURE ZONE: WRITING CRITICALLY ABOUT POPULAR CULTURE (Cengage/Wadsworth, 2009). She serves as the New Professional/Graduate Student Member at Large on the Executive Council of the Popular Culture Association of the South and as Assistant Editor of Studies in Popular Culture. She is also an active member of the National Council of Teachers of English, the Conference on Composition and Communication, the Research Network Forum, the Popular Culture Association, and the Southeastern Writing Center Association.