Students are bombarded every day with media messages laden with rules: what makes our work valuable, our bodies ideal, our communities picture perfect.Acting Out Cultureempowers students to use writing to speak back to their culture and question its rules. Featuring fresh readings by writers who lay bare and challenge the rules we live by, the second edition ofActing Out Culturegives students the tools they need to analyze and write critically about assumptions at the heart of cultural norms.
JAMES S. MILLER is an associate professor of American Studies and American Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he teaches a range of courses on twentieth-century popular and literary culture. His scholarship focuses on issues of public memory and middle-class identity in twentieth-century America, as well as the role of commodity culture in shaping historical consciousness. His essays exploring these topics have appeared in such journals as American Studies, the Journal of American Folklore, and The Public Historian. His book, Managerial Memory: History, Heritage and the Invention of White-Collar Roots, will be published by the University of Michigan Press.
Table of Contents
Preface for Instructors Introduction for Students Rules, Norms, Scripts and Roles: Reading and Analyzing Popular Culture The World in Words: Writing about Rules, Norms, Scripts and Roles *Anne Trubek, Stop Teaching Handwriting [annotated essay] Sample student essay Reading Visuals
1 How We Believe
Introduction: How We Read and Write about Culture
These Are the Rules
Rules, Norms, Scripts and Roles: Reading and Analyzing Popular Culture
How Culture Shapes Us: The Rules of the Road
The World in Words: Writing about Rules, Norms, Scripts and Roles
A Student’s Response to Trubek * Jordan Radziecki, Don’t Erase Handwriting [student essay]
2 How We Watch Introduction Rule Makers/Rule Breakers: Mary Ellis Bunim vs. Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag *Mathew Honan, I Am Here: One Man's Experiment with the Location-Aware Lifestyle *Jessica Bennett, The Flip Side of Internet Fame Harriet McBryde Johnson, Unspeakable Conversations *Trenton Straube, Viewer Discretion Anne-Marie Cusac, Watching Torture in Prime Time Ariel Levy, Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture Then and Now: Wearing Your Identity on Your Sleeve Michael Eric Dyson, Frames of Reference Naomi Klein, Patriarchy Gets Funky: The Triumph of Identity Marketing Scenes and Un-Scenes: Picturing Disaster Putting It into Practice: Keep an Eye Out
3 How We Eat Introduction Rule Makers/Rule Breakers: Whole Foods vs. Michael Pollan *Michael Pollan, Farmer in Chief *Sara Dickerman, Food Fright Then and Now: How to Make Meatloaf Francine Prose, The Wages of Sin Jason Fagone, In Gorging, Truth Caroline Knapp, Add Cake, Subtract Self-Esteem *Makenna Goodman, Ever Wonder if You Could Kill What You Eat? We Did the Other Night *Tara Lohan, The Ultimate in Eating Local: My Adventures in Urban Foraging *Frederick Kaufman, They Eat What We Are Scenes and Un-Scenes: Giving Thanks Putting It into Practice: Consumer Profiling
4 How We Learn Introduction Rule Makers/Rule Breakers: U.S. Department of Education vs. Jonathon Kozol Alfie Kohn, From Degrading to De-grading John Taylor Gatto, Against School *Mike Rose, Blue-Collar Brilliance Then and Now bell hooks, Learning in the Shadow of Race and Class Brigid Schulte, The Case of the Purloined Paper Jonathan Kozol, Preparing Minds for Markets *Colin Bisset, La Vie D'Ennui *Nicholas Wade, Human Culture, an Evolutionary Force Scenes and Un-Scenes: Looking at Learning Putting It into Practice: Educational Scripts
5 How We Work Introduction Rule Makers/Rule Breakers: Wal-Mart vs. Jim Hightower Louis Uchitelle, The Consequences-Undoing Sanity Then and Now: Dressing for Success Anthony DePalma, Fifteen Years on the Bottom Rung *Matthew Crawford, The Case for Working with Your Hands Robert Sullivan, How to Choose a Career That Will Not Get You Rich No Matter What Anyone Tells You *Matt Taibbi, The Great American Bubble Machine *Lynette Clementson, Work vs. Family, Complicated by Race Judith Warner, This Mess *Frank Deford, Awful Injustice: It's Time to Start Paying College Athletes Scenes and Un-Scenes: A Woman's Work Putting It into Practice: Working Hard or Hardly Working?
6 How We Change Introduction Rule Makers/Rule Breakers: "Yes, We Can" vs. "You Lie!" *William Deresiewicz, Faux Friendship *Steven Kurutz, Not Buying It *Joel Kotkin, There's No Place Like Home *Peter Lovenheim, Won't You Be My Neighbor? *Julia Serano, Vice Versa
*Frances Moore Lappé, Let's Drop the Good Guys vs. Bad Guys Talk, We Need to Grow Up as a Species
* Then and Now: The Hero Monster
*Julie Bosman, In Times Square, One Last Homeless Holdout *Jared Keller, Twitter Is Forever
*Scenes and Un-Scenes: "Hello, Neighbor." *Putting it into Practice: The More Things Change...