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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Kari A Lerum
B CUSP 104
Bothell Campus

Discovery Core I: The Arts

Examines an important social issue such as ecology, art, political change, the power of media, educational reform, or the role of science in contemporary culture through interdisciplinary investigation, and the lens of the visual, literary, and performing arts. Offered: A.

Class description

"American Idol(s): How Stories shape Culture and Identity" With Professors Amoshaun Toft and Kari Lerum

This course is linked with B CUSP 107, and thus 10 credits total (See description for BCUSP 107 for full course description)

We understand ourselves and others through the stories we hear and tell. Such stories are found everywhere — including CNN, religious sermons, Facebook status updates, and “American Idol”: all tell stories about our imagined place in the world. But not all stories are created equal: Why do some stories gain more social power than others? How does the social status of the messenger and the cultural, economic, and political context impact the influence of any given story? Furthermore, how can we thoughtfully and competently construct and tell our own stories using digital tools?

We will explore these questions by drawing on academic work in sociology, communication, and cultural studies, by comparing and contrasting examples of popular cultural stories, and by producing our own stories using digital and social medias. We will critically reflect upon the relationship between self-identity and the stories told in a variety of institutions and cultural sites, including mainstream media (CNN, Oprah, MTV, Hollywood), religion, politics, academic disciplines (sociology, anthropology, communications, global health, geography), live art (theater, performance art) and alternative medias (pirate radio, graphic novels) We will engage in a series of production assignments, learning how to tell compelling stories through photography, film, and other forms of creative production and scholarly writing.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Kari A Lerum
Date: 04/10/2012