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popular culture



  • Native on TV in 2021

    by Liza Black

    "Where 20th- and early 21st-century shows used Native characters in superficial ways, perhaps to create an appearance of diversity, Reservation Dogs and Rutherford Falls center Indigenous characters, themes, and content, decolonizing conventional television narratives about Native people."



  • The True History Behind HBO's "The Gilded Age"

    by Kimberly A. Hamlin

    The new series follows fictional characters but is well-grounded in the innovations and inequalities that characterized urban America in the late nineteenth century, thanks in large part to the work of the show's historical consultant Professor Eric Armstrong Dunbar.



  • Sidney Poitier Set the Template for Barack Obama

    by Aram Goudsouzian

    Sidney Poitier's portrayals of characters whose self-contained charm, virtue and dignity obliterated previous racist stereotypes in film but also excluded the frustrations and anger of contemporary African Americans were a model for Barack Obama's campaign promise to heal America's racial wounds.



  • Sidney Poitier Gave More than He was Given

    by Samantha N. Sheppard

    Sidney Poitier's gift and burden as an actor was to constantly deliver more than his scripts contained, pushing the limits of Black representation in Hollywood films. 



  • Sidney Poitier, First Black Man to Win Best Actor Oscar, Dies at 94

    The actor's performances reflected the social tensions at the rise of the Civil Rights movement, advancing beyond the caricatured and one-dimensional characters prior Black actors were given to play, and often embodying the tensions between moderate and militant factions of the Black freedom movement.



  • The DC Punk Scene Relied on the Local Latinx Community

    by Mike Amezcua

    "A big piece is missing from the stories told about punk and hardcore in the 1980s: Primarily, that marginalized spaces and communities in urban America gave a stage to the predominantly white subculture."



  • The Vigilante World of Comic Books

    A major theme of Jeremy Dauber's new history of comics is the tension between democratic values and the desire to eradicate evil through overwhelming force. 



  • The Beatles Ignited a Culture War and Changed the World

    by Randall J. Stephens

    While Peter Jackson's "Get Back" documentary focuses on the last phases of the band's work together, it's important to think about how the group's emergence changed American culture, especially around sex and gender. 



  • Taylor Swift Takes a Familiar Path to Hell and Back

    by Peter Manseau

    "In its own way, “All Too Well” tells a story not unlike myths of yore. It dabbles not in mythology, per se, but in the so-called “monomyth,” popularized as “The Hero’s Journey” by the folklorist Joseph Campbell almost 75 years ago."



  • A Beautiful Mess: On “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”

    by Emily Suzanne Johnson

    "The people who made this film seem to care about its subject, but the film does not know itself well enough to be itself and love itself. Tammy Faye’s heart and soul just aren’t in it."



  • For Research, Portland State Prof Read 60 Years of Marvel Comics

    Douglas Wolk argues in "All the Marvels" that the more than 27,000 comics he read are the "longest, continuous, self-contained work of fiction ever created," but doesn't necessarily advise any comics fans to try to repeat his research process. 



  • The People vs. the Hip Hop Industry

    by Jessica A. Rucker

    A high school teacher examines how students' critical sense is engaged by looking at hip hop music as a product alienated by an industry from the people who have historically created it.