The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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English department introduces Pop Culture as new minor

Illustration by Sarah Hofstedt

The English department has introduced a new minor that students can begin declaring this year: Popular Culture.

“What we are doing is trying to bring together skills of the English department and interpret them into everyday life,” Professor Charles Hatfield, a professors teaching classes in Pop Culture, said.

What this means is the things we often think about as being facetious or, “stuff that gives us pleasure,” expands beyond any limitations mere forms of entertainment can often present. It’s a chance for students to dissect music, movies, games, fashion and even memes as a way to analyze a bigger, societal perspective.

For instance, take Bert and Ernie, and what it means for two child icons and in a larger scope, about gay inequality and same-sex marriage in our society.

“What are the effects?” Hatfield asked. “Positive? Negative? Does it free us? Box us in?”

The Pop Culture minor may be new this year but it has been in the works for about 10 years.

“It’s a dynamic form of study that takes on a lot of things and it’s existing,” Hatfield said.

Minoring in Pop Culture requires the same 18 units that most minors at CSUN do. However, a unique aspect of this minor is that while some English courses are mandated, it is encouraged and necessary to take classes from other disciplines, like sociology, cultural studies and CTVA to name a few, that have lent themselves to the minor.

Pop Culture explores a vast amount of different societal aspects that it’s crucial to include classes from other subjects as a way to gain a broader perspective.

“As I’ve been teaching,” Hatfield said. “It really gets me to reflect on my identity as an individual as well as an entity apart of a community.”

A typical day in one of Hatfield’s classes is hard to pinpoint. Lectures are balanced by discussions but it’s the actual discourse that can veer any which way that really keeps the class interesting and relevant.

“At the end of the day, I say to myself, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen that coming,'” Hatfield said.

So, what can students do with a minor in Pop Culture?

“Students who are working in entertainment media, CTVA or music, find it helpful beyond … those specific skills,” Hatfield said.

However, Pop Culture does not limit itself to majors that only deal with entertainment. Hatfield gives examples of someone who may be majoring in consumer sciences or pursuing a career in the tech industry. Pop Culture is useful in that it explores those industries by their products and what people are actually consuming.

Any questions or inquiries regarding a minor in Pop Culture can be directed to Professor Hatfield in the English department.

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