Summer 2023 - CMNS 221 D100

Media and Popular Cultures (3)

Class Number: 1138

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Aug 4, 2023: Tue, 2:30–4:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 14, 2023
    Mon, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Nine CMNS units with a minimum grade of C-.



Focuses on communication for social change; historical and contemporary perspectives in consumer culture; technology, media and popular culture; media and identity; and communication as public education.


This course introduces students to the histories, theories and methods related to the study of popular cultures, with a focus on the role media technologies play in shaping various pop cultural formations. Different media technologies are associated with specific economic structures that afford the emergence of pop music, cinema and television, games, memes, and products, around which audiences, consumers, and citizens construct identities and social affiliations. While the era of mass media associated with broadcast technology is often regarded as a time of cultural homogenization, it also spurred various sub- and countercultures with unique perspectives. With the rise of the internet and digital technology, more specific niche pop cultural formations have emerged that offer a new range of diversity of representation. Some themes of the course include: the history of popular cultures; modernity vs. postmodernity; mass audiences; race and social representation; consumerism vs. citizenship; gender and sexuality; personal and collective identity; subcultures and countercultures; capitalism and globalization; and theoretical approaches including Marxism, feminism, structuralism and poststructuralism.


  • Tutorial Participation 10%
  • Exam #1 25%
  • Exam #2 25%
  • First Essay 10%
  • Final Essay 30%


The school expects that the grades awarded in this course will bear some reasonable relation to established university-wide practices with respect to both levels and distribution of grades. In addition, The School will follow Policy S10.01 with respect to Academic Integrity, and Policies S10.02, S10.03 and S10.04 as regards Student Discipline (note: as of May 1, 2009, the previous T10 series of policies covering Intellectual Honesty (T10.02) and Academic Discipline (T10.03) have been replaced with the new S10 series of policies).



Imre Szeman and Susie O’Brien, Popular Culture: A User’s Guide, International Edition, Somerset: John Wiley & Sons. Online access through SFU Library Catalogue.
ISBN: 9781119140337

John Storey, Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction, Routledge. Online access through SFU Library Catalogue.
ISBN: 9781315226866


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.