Acting Out Culture : Reading and Writing

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-01-06
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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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.

Author Biography

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
Guided Reading:  Anne Trubek’s Stop Teaching Handwriting
*Anne Trubek, Stop Teaching Handwriting [annotated essay]
A Student’s Response to Trubek
* Jordan Radziecki, Don’t Erase Handwriting [student essay]
Reading Visuals
2 How We Watch
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
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
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
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
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...
Index of Authors and Titles

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