Due to the Corona virus it is unclear how the programmes will take place. For the latest news please check the course page in Blackboard/Brightspace.


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English-language Popular Culture


Admission requirements



Next to the popular-culture industry of Hollywood, BBC and HBO TV series, English-language pop music and popular-genre fiction (Horror, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Detectives) have become a staple part of many people’s daily cultural diet across the globe. Since the development of Cultural Studies as an academic discipline, in the secondhalf of the twentieth century, popular culture has also become a serious object of study at universities. This course gives students an introduction to English-language popular-culture studies in the form of a series of lectures presented by staf of the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS). The case studies in the analysis of pop-culture “texts” (in traditional and new media) presented will vary from year to year, but the focus will always be on the production, reception and cultural impact and/or politics of various forms of English-language popular culture.

Course Objectives

  • Knowledge: Students will become knowledgeable of the relationship between various forms of popular culture and society: how forms of mass produced popular culture shape individual, regional and national identities, how ideologies shape forms of popular culture and vice versa, and how older forms of culture are continually re-invented within popular to play an important role in society.

  • Insight: Students will gain insight into the history, research questions and methodologies of the academic discipline of popular-culture studies.

  • Skills: Students will learn skills that will allow them to identify and analyse both intertextual and intercultural relations between forms of popular culture, as well as the ability to identify and study ways in which popular-culture productions play a role in the representation and discussion of wider socio-political issues.


The timetable is available on the BA English website

There is a film screening on Monday nights in some weeks, this film screening is not obligatory.

Mode of instruction

  • A series of lectures

  • Self-motivated study of written and audiovisual materials

  • Film screening

Course Load

5 ECTS = 140 hours of study

  • 26 hours lectures

  • 6 hours examination

  • 21 hours exam preparation

  • 87 hours of studying the reading/viewing materials

Assessment method

Assessment method

  • A 2-hour written mid-term exam on the material presented during part 1 and 2 of the course; 50% of the final grade.

  • A 2-hour end-of-term exam on the material presented in part 3 and 4 of the course; 50% of the final grade.


  • A 2-hour written mid-term exam on the material presented during part 1 and 2 of the course; 50% of the final grade.

  • A 2-hour end-of-term exam on the material presented in part 3 and 4 of the course; 50% of the final grade.


Only when the final average is a grade of 5.49 or lower, will the student have to resit one (or both) of the exams during the resit period.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Students will find the syllabus on Blackboard and the required reading not listed in the reading list of this course description. Blackboard will also be used to communicate with students via the announcements and email.

Reading list

  • See Blackboard for weekly reading/viewing schedule


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Students other than from the BA English Language and Culture studies need permission from the coordinator of studies before enrolling.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.


The reading for week 1 is:

  • Greenday, "American Idiot" on youtube (The song)

  • The chapter titled “What is Popular Culture? “ from John Storey’s* Cultlural Theory and Popular Culture*, available as a PDF on the Blackboard site.