Department of Popular Culture

Hello and welcome to the web site of the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University! 

BGSU’s Department of Popular Culture offers a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Popular Culture Major and for graduate students to earn a Masters Degree in Popular Culture. Undergraduate students majoring in any field can take approved Popular Culture courses to meet BGSU humanities requirements and can complete a Popular Culture Minor or a Folklore Minor in our department. We regularly offer both graduate and undergraduate courses in popular music, television, film, and folklore, as well as courses that focus on how to research and analyze popular culture and its impact on society. Each year our faculty also develop and teach courses on more specialized topics of interest to students.

The 10 full-time faculty in the Department of Popular Culture hold doctoral degrees in American Culture, Anthropology, Asian Studies, Ethnic Studies, Folklore, and Women's Studies: we share an interest in bringing these different perspectives to our research and teaching about popular culture. This community of interest extends beyond the classroom to events sponsored by the department’s Center for Popular Culture Studies, such as an on-going series of monthly lectures organized by students, and conferences on emerging issues involving popular culture, such as the April 2010 Asian Popular Culture Symposium and 2013 Heavy Metal and Popular Culture Conference.

We define popular culture as the expressive practices of everyday life (including mass media products such as television shows and video games, but also individualized forms of expression like food and holidays).  In our courses and our research, we look at the many different ways people use, interpret and adapt even the most conventional mass-produced items in the course of our daily lives.  We also study the more spectacular practices of groups of people who develop new cultural forms as well as maintain traditional ones.  We are especially interested in the ways the expressive practices of popular culture convey, challenge and influence social values, norms of behavior, and sense of identity.  We study the exchanges and transformations of popular culture in global and historical contexts as well as among diverse groups within contemporary American society. While popular culture may at first appear to be a trivial matter, it turns out to be the site where many of the most important and controversial issues are explored and debated.

This site is maintained by the Department of Popular Culture and has been organized to help those outside of the BGSU community learn as much as possible about our faculty, courses, degree programs, and events. Please send comments and/or suggestions to molivar@bgsu.edu. If you have general questions, you may contact the Department at popc@bgsu.edu. You may also contact faculty, graduate students, and staff directly by obtaining their contact information from the Faculty & Staff link. Please refer to the website for information about colloquia, conferences, lectures, and other events.

Marilyn F. Motz, Chair
228 Shatzel Hall
Bowling Green, OH

Department Newsletters
Historic Location

A Message to Reporters and Journalists: If you would like to interview a faculty member of the Department of Popular Culture for a story you are working on, please consider these options: (1) Consult the Faculty & Staff link, review the biographical information for each faculty member, and directly contact the faculty member who best fits your story needs or (2) Contact the Department Chair, Dr. Marilyn Motz, by e-mail (mmotz@bgsu.edu), briefly describing the story you are writing, stating your deadline, and listing a phone number where you can be reached; she will distribute the e-mail to the faculty and they will individually respond to your request. In all cases, faculty members will return phone calls or e-mails at their earliest convenience.