Pop Bibliography

Adorno, T.W. The Cultural Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture.. London: Routledge, 1991.
Classic essays from a leader of the Frankfurt School of cultural studies.
Allen, Robert C. Speaking of Soap Operas. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985.
Though dated in subject matter, this remains an excellent study of the production and consumption of daytime soap operas.
Allen, Robert C., ed. Channels of Discourse Reassembled: Television and Contemporary Criticism. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992.
Introduces a variety of critical approaches to popular culture (semiotics, genre analysis, ideological analysis, etc.) through essays focusing on American television.
Ang, Ien. Living Room Wars: Rethinking Media Audiences for a Postmodern World. London: Routledge, 1996.
Excellent collection of essays exploring various difficulties and possibilities in analyzing the responses of popular culture audiences.
Ashby, LeRoy. With Amusement for All: A History of American Popular Culture since 1830. Lexington: U of Kentucky P, 2006.
One of the broadest ranging general histories of US popular culture. Especially good on the 19th century.
Bale, John, and Mike Cronin, ed. Sport and Colonialism.London: Berg, 2003.
Fine set of essays using sport as a lens through which to understandcolonial and postcolonial realities in the global south.
Barthes, Roland. The Fashion System. London: Jonathan Cape, 1983.
Classic, complicated study of how the world of the high fashion industry uses "fabric texts" and words to create an abstract world of fashionableness that must at once always change and always stay the same.
Bennett, Andy; Barry Shank; and Jayson Toynbee, eds. The Popular Music Studies Reader. Routledge, 2006.
Excellent collection covering a wide range of issues in pop music studies, from sonic form to the music industry to new digital technologies and more.
Bird, S. Elizabeth, ed. Dressing in Feathers: The Construction of the Indian in American Popular Culture. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996.
Essays range over two centuries and many forms, from "wild west" shows to Disney's "Pocahontas."
Bogle, Donald. Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films. New York: Continuum, 2001 [4th ed.].
Classic study (updated in 2001 edition) of African American stereotypes, from silent film era to late 20th century.
Bordo, Susan. The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999.
Excellent study of changing images of masculinity in 1990s US popular culture.
Burston, Paul and Colin Richardson, eds. A Queer Romance: Lesbians, Gay Men and Popular Culture. New York: Routledge, 1995.
Good collection of essays on various ways that gays and lesbians have been represented in and have responded to popular culture.
Clover, Carrol J. Men, Women and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992.
The title says it all. Ever wonder why people (maybe even you?) like slasher films? Here's a sophisticated set of psycho-social answers.
Chasin, Alexandra. Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to the Market. NY: Palgrave McMillan, 2001.
Argues that marketing to LGBTQ citizens, in tandem with the mainstreaming of alternative sexual politics, has sold out the wider intentions to create full equality for LGBTQ citizens in solidarity with other oppressed groups.
Churchill, Ward. Fantasies of the Master Race: Literature, Cinema and the Colonization of American Indians. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1992.
Blunt, often incisive critique of issues ranging from genocidal Westerns to sports mascots to New Age wannabe Indians.
Creeber, Glen, and Royston Martin. Digital Culture: Understanding New Media. Open University Press, 2008.
Solid intro to key issues in new media (web, video games, etc.) studies.
Davila, Arlene. Latinos Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People. Berkeley: U of California Press, 2001.
Excellent study of the targeting of Latinos within the US as by national and transnational (Latin American) advertising and media companies.
Diawara, Manthia, ed. Black American Cinema. New York: Routledge, 1993.
Excellent collection of essays on aesthetics, history, and reception of African American film.
Doty, Alexander. Making Things Perfectly Queer: Interpreting Mass Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.
Witty re-reading of popular figures from Jack Benny to Laverne and Shirley as having a "queer" subtext.
Driver, Susan. Queer Girls and Popular Culture: Reading, Resisting, and Creating Media.New York: Peter Lang, 2007.
Rich exploration of how queer grrls remake heteronormative pop culture to suit their own desires.
Ewen, Stuart and Elizabeth Ewen. Channels of Desire: Mass Images and the Shaping of American Consciousness. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1982.
Incisive look at how advertising and related consumer-oriented messages have shaped US culture and consumer consciousness.
Fregoso, Rose Linda. The Bronze Screen: Chicana and Chicano Film Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.
The best study yet of Chicanas as subjects in and as creators of film.
Gamson, Joshua. Claims to Fame: Celebrity in Contemporary America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.
The best book on the role of pop "celebrities" in US culture. Utilizes textual, production, and audience analyses.
---. Freaks Talk Back: Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Nonconformity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.
Excellent book on the strange and wondrous phenomenon of Jerry Springer-style "tabloid" talk shows. Utilizes textual, production, and audience analyses.
Gaspar de Alba, Alicia. Chicano Art Inside/Outside the Master’s House: Cultural Politics and the CARA Exhibition. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998.
Brilliant interpretation of a major Chicano art retrospective that raises key questions about the construction of high art vs. popular art among marginalized ethno-racialized groups.
Gray, Herman. Cultural Moves: African Americans and the Politics of Representation. Berkeley: U of California, P 2005.
Excellent collection of essays on early 21st century trends in black representation in popular media (music, TV) and high culture (canonical jazz, visual art). Seeks a path beyond the typical issues of "inclusion" and "stereotyping."
---. Watching Race: Television and the Struggle for "Blackness." Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995.
Brilliant interpretation of the evolution of representations of African Americans in television news and fiction programming, from the 1980s to the present.
Guerrero, Ed. Framing Blackness: The African American Image in Film. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993.
Among the very best general works on African Americans and film.
Hamamoto, Darrell Y. Monitored Peril: Asian Americans andthe Politics of TV Representation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994.
Wide-ranging study that includes issues of internment, and the war in Southeast Asia, in addition to ongoing, everyday stereotypes of TV orientalism.
Jamieson, Kathleen Hall. Packaging the Presidency: A History and Criticism of Presidential Campaign Advertising. New York: Oxford University Press, 1984.
Classic study of how advertising techniques have shaped the American electoral process.
Jenkins, Henry. Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. MIT Press, 2009.
Raises critical questions about what media literacy can mean in the Internet age.
Jhally, Sut. The Codes of Advertising: Fetishism and the Political Economy of Meaning in the Consumer Society. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987.
Strong study of how advertising texts shape racial, gender, and class beliefs and create a "consumer" consciousness.
Jhally, Sut and Justin Lewis. Enlightened Racism: The Cosby Show, Audiences, and the Myth of the American Dream. Boulder: Westview Press, 1992.
Combines audience surveys and textual analysis to look at how confusions about race and class in the US are reflected in and reinforced by Cosby's mid-80s show.
Kackman, Michael, et al. eds, Television in the Age of Media Convergence. NY; Routledge, 2011.
Addresses a range of issues in the reformulating of television form and content in the period of DVDs, DRVs, and Internet re-presentations.
Kaplan, E. Ann. Rocking Around the Clock: Music Television, Postmodernism and Consumer Culture. New York: Methuen, 1987.
Sophisticated analysis of the relations among MTV videos, consumer culture, and the psychodynamics of identity formation in youth.
Kellner, Douglas. Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity and Politics Between the Modern and the Postmodern. London; New York: Routledge, 1995.
Broad study that offers both a fully developed theoretical model and case studies ranging from Rambo to Madonna to Gulf War news coverage.
Kilpatrick, Jacquelyn. Celluloid Indians. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.
Best general study of images of Native American Indians in mainstream film.
Lears, T.J. Jackson. Fables of Abundance: A Cultural History of American Advertising. New York: Basic Books, 1994.
Richly detailed study of the rise of American advertising in the context of later 19th and early 20th century American culture.
Lee, Robert G. Orientals: Asian Americans in Popular Culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999.
Comprehensive study to on Asian Americans in pop culture, covering two centuries and many different cultural forms.
Lefèvre, Pascal and Dierick Charles, eds. Forging a New Medium: The Comic Strip in the Nineteenth Century. Brussel: Vub Brussels University Press, 1999.
Establishes the historical background necessary to understand the origin and nature of the modern comic strip. Includes essay on rise of comics in particular countries, among them England, Spain, Germany, and US, essays from prominent artists in the genre, as well as a useful timeline on the development of the comic strip.
Lemish, Dafna. Screening Gender on Children's Television: The Views of Producers around the World.
NY: Routledge, 2011.
Audience research-based study of early 21st century trends in the representation of gender on TV shows aimed at girls and boys.
Levine, Lawrence. Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988.
Highly influential study of the formation of our current split of "high" and "popular" culture in the later 19th, early 20th century.
Lewis, Lisa. Gender Politics and MTV. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990.
Takes an audience-ethnographic approach that sees Madonna and similar figures as empowering to girls and young women.
Lipsitz, George. Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990.
Innovative study of relations between mass-produced pop culture and the realities of communal memory dimly present in those commodified productions.
---. Dangerous Crossroads: Popular Music, Postmodernism and the Poetics of Place. London; New York: Verso, 1994.
Incisive study of various musical ethnic subcultures and their complex negotiations with the dominant culture and their co-resisters in a global/local struggle over meaning.
Lutz, Catherine and Jane L. Collins. Reading National Geographic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.
Two visual anthropologists study the racial, gender, and international politics of this influential journal.
Marc, David. Comic Visions: Television Comedy and American Culture. Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989.
Generally regarded as the best overall book on the sit-com.
Marcus, Greil. Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock and Roll Music. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1975.
The revised American Studies dissertation of one of America's foremost rock critics is a searching study of the gritty roots of what has become glossy pop culture.
McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993.
Very lucid, rich introduction to the history and visual and verbal meaning making processes of comic books. The book itself is done in brilliant comic book form.
McNair, Brian. Mediated Sex: Pornography and Postmodern Culture. UK: Arnold Publishers, 1996.
Sociology-based analysis weighing various arguments about the production and consumption of pornography; focused primarily on the US and Britain.
Nasaw, David. Going Out: The Rise and Fall of Public Amusements. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1993.
Wide-ranging study of the culture industries of the early 20th century, with particular emphasis on the role they played for immigrant workers.
Ohmann, Richard. Selling Culture: Magazines, Markets, and Class at the Turn of the Century. London; New York: Verso, 1996.
Excellent study of the role of mass market magazines in the rise of consumer capitalism in the late 19th, early 20th centuries.
Orenstein, Peggy. Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. NY: Harper, 2011.
Critically explores the "pink culture" of princesses, ballerinas and fairies that has become a multi-billion dollar industry deeply impacting the gender identities of very young girls.
Park, Jane Chi Hyun. Yellow Future: Oriental Style in Hollywood Cinema.. Minneapolis: U Minnesota P, 2010.
Study of Orientalist futurism as style in Hollywood sci fi from the 1980s ("Blade Runner" )to the 21st century.
Peiss, Kathy. Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn-of-the-Century New York. Philadelphia, PN: Temple University Press, 1986.
Classic American Studies text, looking at the various forms of early 20th century pop culture aimed at women from the working class.
Pratt, Ray. Rhythm and Resistance: The Political Uses of Popular Music. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 1994.
Examines the political impact of spirituals, gospel, the blues, and rock 'n' roll in American culture.
Pustz, Matthew. Comic Book Culture: Fanboys and True Believers. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1999.
Study of contemporary comic strip fans, from the casual to the nearly pathologically devoted. The subtitle refers to the author's distinction between mainstream "fanboys" and the "true believers" devoted to alternative comix culture.
Radway, Janice. A Feeling for Books: the Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle-Class Desire. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, c1997.
One of the few books that looks carefully at the construction of "middle-brow" taste as exemplified in the book of the month club's efforts to provide enlightening reading.
---. Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Culture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1991.
One of the most oft-cited "classics" in American Studies and popular culture, this analysis combines production analysis, textual analysis and ethnographic audience analysis of the "romance novel" genre.
Reid, Mark. Redefining Black Film. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.
Important history of the black independent film industry that has long sought to counter and complicate mainstream Hollywood representations of African Americans.
Rollins, Peter C., and John E. O'Connor, eds. Hollywood's Indian. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2003.
Good collection of essays on various portrayals of Indians in film from the silent era to the present.
Rose, Tricia. Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America. Hanover, NH: Published by University Press of New England for Wesleyan University Press, 1994.
Arguably still the best book on rap, this study analyses both the political economic and cultural roots of rap, and its textual meanings.
Ross, Andrew. No Respect: Intellectuals and Popular Culture. New York: Routledge, 1989.
Important collection of essays tracing the various kinds of analysis US intellectuals have made of popular culture over the course of the twentieth century.
Ross, Andrew, Tricia Rose, and Andrew Rose, eds. Microphone Fiends: Youth Music and Youth Culture. New York: Routledge, 1994.
Excellent collection of essays on rock, rap, heavy metal, dance scenes, and the youth cultures that surround them.
Ross, Robert J.S. Slaves to Fashion: Poverty and Abuse in the New Sweatshops. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007.
Excellent study of the dirty underside of the fashion industry.
Russo, Vito. The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies. New York: Harper and Row, 1981.
A groundbreaking book analyzing sex and gender, in regards to homosexuality, in film from the 1920s through the 1980s. Made into an excellent video documentary by the same name.
Schudson, Michael. Advertising, the Uneasy Persuasion. New York: Basic Books, 1984.
Careful sociological study of the impact of advertising on US culture.
Singer, Beverly. Wiping the War Paint Off the Lens: Native American Film and Video (Visible Evidence, V. 10).Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.
Excellent study of how Native American filmmakers have sought to offer alternatives to Hollywood's stereotyped and culturally inaccurate views of Native life.
Tomlinson, John. Cultural Imperialism: A Critical Introduction. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.
A fine, brief survey of issues surrounding the ways in which US pop culture may or may not be overwhelming other world cultures.
Walters, Suzanna Danuta. All the Rage: The Story of Gay Visibility in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.
An excellent book looking not only at gay visibility in film but in all forms of media up to its publication in 2001. While this book focuses primarily on television, it does pick up where Russo (above) left off.
Williamson, Judith. Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising. London: Boyars, 1978.G
The classic text on how advertisements address and create their audiences.
Wolk, Douglas. Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean.Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2007.
A worthy addition to the serious study of comics that starts with Scott McLoud'sUnderstanding Comics.
Wright, Bradford W. Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.
Offers a social history of US comic books that shows how changing trends in comic books, from Superman's debut in 1938 up to the late 20th century, both reflected and contributed to changing political and cultural values.