Hello all — the readings/viewings due for next week are as follows:

  • “Why Theory?” p. 1-9, TT (Theory Toolbox)
  • “Popular Signs: Or, Everything You Always Knew About American Culture (butetdt.jpg Nobody Asked)”, p. 1- 15, SOL (Signs of Life) — handed out in class, but the book is now available in the bookstore for purchase.
  • View: Encode This Decode That

Please consider the following questions (below) as you read. You do not have to answer any specific set of questions listed below, and you are also free to write about something else that takes your attention, but your discussion about each reading should be thoughtful and critical, paying particular attention to the themes or major ideas presented within both readings.

Be sure to address BOTH readings, and also engage in a discussion with your student colleagues. Do not merely repeat what another student writes, but rather discuss your own thoughts as they relate to those of others. When appropriate, be sure to provide examples, either textual or contextual (examples outside of the readings). If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me.

1) What examples can you provide, personal or otherwise, in which the use of theory might prove useful? Explain why.

santapug.jpg2) In what ways do the readings emphasize some of what we discussed in class? Whatvejigante2.jpg new ideas or thoughts are presented that were not discussed in the last class?

3) After reading the Introduction to Popular Signs, in what ways do both artifacts presented in our last class (Santa Pug and the Vejigante statuette) potentially blur the boundaries between high and low cultures?

4) What is your understanding of “signs” of culture? In other words, what is a “sign” and what do signs mean for our understanding of culture/s? What examples might you provide that are not provided already by the text?

5) Explain what you believe is the significance of the title “Encode This Decode That” after watching the video. How does the video relate to the readings and/or discussions we had in class?

* Again, if something else takes your attention that you would like to discuss, please feel free to do so. I might interject comments of my own as responses are posted, to help you blog and share ideas with others.