About the Department
The Department of Popular Culture aspires to be the pre-eminent academic department of popular culture studies in the United States and one of the best in the world.
The mission of the Department of Popular Culture is to lead and excel in the field of popular culture studies through scholarship, teaching and service of outstanding quality to the academic community as a whole, the state of Ohio and the society at large.
POPULAR CULTURE AT BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY:
The Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University has been a leader in the scholarly movement to investigate popular culture since its inception in 1973. Dr. Ray Browne's early efforts in the Department of English led in 1973 to the establishment of the Department of Popular Culture as an M.A. program, followed with the establishment of the undergraduate major a year later. Previously, in 1967, Dr. Browne had founded the Journal of Popular Culture; and in 1969 he founded the scholarly association for the study of popular culture, the Popular Culture Association, which is now headquartered at Michigan State University. Through these innovative curricular and programmatic developments and the research and other professional activities of the faculty, the department has established its national reputation as the leader in the study of popular culture.
Bowling Green State University is the only university in the United States to implement a graduate department devoted to the scholarly study of popular culture. By expanding literature course offerings to include the research and analysis of detective fiction, romance fiction, westerns, and other so-called genre fiction; and by developing coursework on popular film, popular television, popular music, and folklore and folklife, the Department of Popular Culture in 1973 opened students to a consideration of cultural forms that they were familiar with in their everyday lives, but had not reflected upon critically. Through the consideration of popular materials, students confronted issues concerning the relationships of commerce to art, the popular media to society, and the popular use of the mass media. Very quickly, a high student demand for popular culture courses developed on both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Students found them relevant, meaningful, and challenging. In 1977, the Department of Popular Culture became a founding and contributing member of the American Culture Ph.D. at Bowling Green State University and has actively offered courses in the BG Perspective, Honors, and BG Experience programs.
Bowling Green State University has provided national leadership in the development of the research and analysis of popular culture. Since the initiation of the department at Bowling Green, popular culture courses have been developed in other universities throughout the United States and internationally as well. Many of these institutions have modeled their courses on those at Bowling Green; indeed, many of them have adopted the textbooks edited by faculty members Christopher D. Geist and John G. Nachbar (1983 and 1992) for their courses.