Pop culture courses at UBC

Game of Thrones and Cristiano Ronaldo await your analysis.

Kristen Hilderman

Pop culture courses at UBC

Image: Waterstones Dork

In spring 2016, the English Department on UBC’s Vancouver campus will be offering a Game of Thrones-inspired course centred on A Song of Ice and Fire, novelist George R. R. Martin’s wildly popular fantasy series. In honour of this creative addition to the academic calendar, here are more fascinating UBC courses that fall at the intersection of pop culture and academics.

Course: Our Modern Medieval: The Song of Ice and Fire as Contemporary Medievalism
Subject: English

Using the works of George R. R. Martin, this course examines the role of the medieval in the popular consciousness of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Martin’s works hold an influential place in the modern imagined medieval, largely supplanting any real notion of the European Middle Ages in the minds of most of its readers and viewers. Topics for discussion include, among others: women; politics; monsters; disability; nature; history; chivalry; objects; place; religion; sexuality; and race.

Course: Asian Horror Cinema: National Nightmares and Spectres of Trauma
Subject: Asian Area Studies

In this course students engage with the ideologies, industrial histories, socio-cultural contexts, and aesthetics of horror films – and the genre itself – from various Asian cinemas. This course discusses the recent Asian horror phenomenon, beginning with the success of The Ring franchise, as well as the origins of the genre within each national cinema. Students explore how the horror genre’s ability to expose our subconscious fears and its capacity for allegory are employed to re-narrate national trauma and its impact on the individual.

Course: Women and Popular Culture
Subject: Gender and Women’s Studies

This course examines how women are represented in a variety of genres in popular culture that are influenced by historical, social, and cultural contexts. It also looks at the ideological, institutional, social, and personal implications of these representations, and the use of media to provoke social and personal change.

Course: Children’s Literature
Subject: English

Various sections of this course take on different topics, examining themes such as danger and discovery, textual constructions of femininity, and post-human bodies and cybernetic selves. Students are introduced to relevant theoretical material and encouraged to develop independent critical responses to the texts. Depending on the course section, readings include classics such as Peter Pan, Little Women, and Treasure Island, and series such as Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, and His Dark Materials.

Course: Mental Health and Pop Culture
Subject: Psychology

Pop culture informs (and misinforms) us about mental health and illness. This course examines representations of mental health and disorders in a variety of popular culture media and industries, and associated implications.

Course: Japanese Popular Culture
Subject: Anthropology

This course covers basic paradigms used in social science research and analysis of Japan, while focusing on Japanese mass and popular culture. It examines television shows, dramas, movies, advertising, marketing, manga (Japanese style “comics”), anime (Japanese animation), theatrical forms, popular literature, popular music, fashion fads, tourism, toys, and sports in Japanese culture.

Course: Internet Culture
Subject: Cultural Studies

This course undertakes a critical study of the cultural influence of the Internet on everyday life.

Course: Critical Approaches to Manga and Anime
Subject: Asian Area Studies

In this course students analyze manga, anime, and related consumer goods and cultures in and beyond Japan. It aims to give students a working knowledge of important events, issues, and themes in the cultural history of modern Japan, and how popular culture forms such as manga and anime interpreted and influenced those events and issues. Recent texts covered in the course have included Astro Boy, Osama Tezuka’s Metropolis, Gunslinger Girls, Chobits, and Crimson Hero.

Course: Cristiano Ronaldo
Subject: Sociology

This course ran in 2015 on UBC’s Okanagan campus, and although it’s not currently available, it’s planned to be offered again in 2016/17. It was conceived and taught by Dr. Luis LM Aguiar, associate professor of sociology in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Aguiar structured the course to examine “the social and economic forces driving the various constructions of this athlete and what this says about our contemporary values and culture.”

Latest Stories

Previous
Leonardo Moutinho Caffarello Student Story

All roads lead to space

From Brazil to Canada, en route to Mars
student

All roads lead to space

"UBC has inspired me to reach for new heights and leave my mark on this planet in a positive way." - Leonardo Caffarello, Physics
Noa Berman Mayer UBC Student Story

Discovering the impact of a Forestry degree

How one student unearthed her passion for conservation
student

Discovering the impact of a Forestry degree

"There are intricacies in the smallest of ecosystems, and there is so much more to discover," - Noa Mayer, BSc in Natural Resources Conservation
Chris Rambaran UBC story

Supporting youth from care at UBC

Chris helps prospective and current students to thrive
alumni

Supporting youth from care at UBC

"My favourite thing is to see students’ reactions when they learn that their tuition is going to be completely covered." - Chris Rambaran, Enrolment Services Advisor
Verukah Poirier Former Youth in Care

Finding a home

How one student discovered her path after leaving foster care
student

Finding a home

"I aged out of the child welfare system at the age of 19 in the city of Surrey. I can honestly say that I have found the family I always wanted at UBC." - Verukah Poirier, Bachelor of Arts.
Alicia Morgono Student Story

Making the most of opportunities

How work placements and extracurricular activities enriched one student's degree
student

Making the most of opportunities

"My first Co-op was during the summer of 2018 at RBC Toronto. I had a supportive, fun team, and a great experience at a Fortune 500 company." - Alicia Margono, International Relations and Psychology
Nadine Truter student story

Making an impact

How one student hopes to put her own stamp on healthcare
student

Making an impact

"I knew I wanted to have a positive impact on the world in one way or another – the next step was to determine how I would do it." - Nadine Truter, Biomedical Engineering
Student Story Sila Rogan

Connecting to her roots

Using a UBC science degree to solve real-life Aboriginal issues
student

Connecting to her roots

One Inuit student is transforming her love of science into solutions for real-world Aboriginal issues.
Zachary Bingley UBC Student Story

Success after UBC

How classes and community can launch a career
alumni

Success after UBC

Zachary left UBC Okanagan's Management program employed by one of his teachers on a project that helps reduce food insecurity in the Okanagan area.
next