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.
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
Mode of instruction
A series of lectures
Self-motivated study of written and audiovisual materials
5 ECTS = 140 hours of study:
26 hours of lectures in 4 blocks.
± 56 hours reading/study materials
2 hour mid-term exam (on the material from block 1 and 2)
±16 hours exam preparation
±24 research time for essay
±16 writing time for essay
An essay assignment, with a research component;
A 2-hour written mid-term exam on the material presented during block 1 and block 2 of the course.
An essay assignment: 50% of the final grade;
A 2-hour written mid-term exam on the material presented during block 1 and block 2 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.
Inspection and feedback
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.
Blackboard will be used for:
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.
See Blackboard for weekly reading/viewing schedule
Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website
NB: First year students will be enrolled by the coordinator of studies.
Students other than from the BA English language and culture cannot take this course.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
Registration Studeren à la carte
Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.
The coordinator of studies is Else van Dijk