It has been suggested in this class that the concept of youth in America has largely become a construction and reflection of consumer choices and tastes as mediated through popular culture. Write an essay on some of the major trends and developments in the history of youth and popular culture since 1963. Be sure to support your points with specific examples from developments in rock’n’roll, movies, television, comic books, toys, video games, Internet social networking, and other trends in youth popular culture over the past 50 years.
Would you argue that popular culture over the past 50 years has been mostly something that is received passively by consumers, whose tastes have been shaped by trends and decisions made by the entertainment industry? Or have young audiences and artists often taken an active role in the shaping of their own popular culture and, in turn, led the entertainment industry to make decisions to reflect the changing tastes and fashions of young people? In other words, to what degree have young people been active participants in the shaping of their own popular culture? And to what degree has the experience of being young actually been shaped by decisions made by producers and marketers of popular culture? How, would you argue, has popular culture of the past 50 years actually changed the experience of growing up in America?
In writing your essay, you MUST cite SPECIFIC EXAMPLES from the assigned reading in the course (both the Ashby and Wright books). You are not expected to use outside sources for this assignment. But if you do use any outside sources, be sure to cite these as well. Failure to do so will constitute plagiarism and plagiarized papers will receive a grade of zero.
Length is up to you, but I can’t imagine a sufficient or substantial answer to this question that runs less than 8 double-spaced pages.
Your grade will reflect the depth of your essay’s analysis, the logic of your essay’s organization and examples, and the clarity of your writing.
The two textbooks that we are using are:
Author: Ashby
Title: With Amusement For All: A History of American Popular Culture since 1830
Publisher: University of Kentucky Press
ISBN: 9780813123974
Author: Wright, Bradford W.
Title: Comic Book Nation
Publisher: Johns Hopkins
ISBN: 9780801874505

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