Build skills to analyze and interpret Pop Culture. Explore the dynamics of fandom, popular culture, and digital media by developing strategies for self-reflection, close reading, and analysis and interpretation.
How might what we love – what we watch, what we read, what we post – make our communities healthier and more vibrant? This question guides Fandom and Popular Culture in the Digital Age. In our networked and information-saturated world, three vital needs emerge: representing identity in digital media, interrogating the products of culture, and engaging meaningfully with digital communities. This course addresses these needs by inviting you into a space of reflection at the intersection of fandom, popular culture, and digital media. More than at any point in human history, these forces have put at our fingertips the means to create and disseminate ourselves in the world. We will explore the products of popular culture and trace the fan networks that sustain and derive value from them. Along the way, we will train you to recognize relationships between popular culture and the political and commercial forces that shape its publication, distribution, and consumption.
This course will equip you with the tools necessary to boost your digital media fluency and define, shape, and evolve your identity as a fan within digital spaces. But ultimately, this is a celebration – a celebration of you and your communities, what you love, and how that love might bring people together to change the world. Together, we can make this a community-driven online resource for our shared endeavor of analyzing and understanding fandom and popular culture.
Applied Learning Project
The projects across this specialization challenge learners to reflect deeply on their experiences, practice skills of close reading, analysis, and interpretation, and express their fandom in thoughtful and creative ways. Learners will practice digital literacy and professional communication skills through reflecting on their personal fandom in blog-style writing, express their creativity by making something relevant to their fandom, and engage with their fandom directly through online platforms.