Rhetoric of Popular Culture

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The primary objective of this course is to offer an alternative focus on the rhetoric of popular culture in today’s globalized and mediated society. Rhetoric of Popular Culture presents an historic range of rhetorical and critical intellectual approaches, including media, feminist, queer, and Marxist theories. In this class, we examine popular culture and the texts that are produced within it to unveil rhetoric that comments on or portrays issues such as consumerism, fashion, socio-political propaganda, gender issues, transgression, new media use, and other issues of social or political sensitivity and concern. We address national obsessions with celebrity and consumerism, trash culture and junk politics, and whether or not popular culture offers unique opportunities for progress and political engagement. We also question, explore, explain, analyze, develop, and critique ideas effectively, undertake writing projects that have depth and complexity, and make appropriate decisions about argument, structure, and rhetoric.


Professor Dawkins is terrific instructor! She lead our class with great encouragement and skill. Not only is she a wonderful instructor but also a truly caring person. Her graciousness and understanding through this hard time for me during this class was imeasurable. I was blessed to have been instructed by Professor Dawkins, a huge asset to the faculty.


Dr. Dawkins,

Thanks for helping us through this class. It was a lot tougher and I got a lot more out of it than I originally expected. I especially liked the discussions. Very frank and honest, yet respectful. Kudos to my classmates as well....

Al Herman

Inspiring Enthusiasm

This is amazing course that quickly developed into one of my favorite experiences of my scholarly career. Dr. Dawkins's enthusiasm for all that she teaches abundantly overflows into the classroom and her students as she embraces innovative thought and encourages ambition.

Any encounter with Dr. Dawkins is always a pleasure as she not only brings light to the subject at hand, but also to any room.

In good cheer,
Julia Navarro


Overall, Dr. Dawkins provided students with a wonderful opportunity to fuse their knowledge of rhetorical criticism with pop culture reflection. I would evaluate Dr. Dawkins's teaching style as superior and illuminating. She was thoroughly prepared and well-organized. She engaged students in critical thinking and she pushed them to think from multiple perspectives. I believe that students are very fortunate to have her as an inspiring teacher in the classroom setting.

Dr. Stella Ting-Toomey
Professor, CSUF

Thanks for changing my mind

Based on the name of the class, I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to enroll at first. I wasn’t keen on the idea of taking the course at first—was I going to end up in a class that examined gossip rags? I’m glad that I gave the class a chance and enrolled.

This term has been a pleasant surprise for me. On the outset, some of the subjects up for discussion—fashion, for instance—were not high on my list of personal tastes. However, the sheer variety of topics was enough to keep me enrolled. Other topics, like graffiti and hip-hop culture, intrigued me. Throughout the course, I discovered that each of the topics we discussed was actually quite interesting, and Dr. Dawkins fostered an environment that allowed for open communication for students to discuss their personal views. This kept each lesson stimulating and allowed us to learn more about each other and our various perspectives, breaking down communication barriers and drawing us closer.

The coursework was more challenging than I had originally anticipated, but it was certainly for the better. I expanded my horizons a bit and thought more about subjects that I normally wouldn’t care for. The final project was an especially interesting analysis of an artifact of our choosing—and being able to be active in choosing the topic was a key component in my staying actively interested in what we were learning, for much of what we learned in class helped guide me through my research.

Best of all, I found that Dr. Dawkins could relate the class to both our experiences and her experiences, making the subject come alive. She’s approachable and allows the class to help dictate the flow of discussion, and an open forum is always appreciated. I found myself looking forward to each lesson, which I suppose was an extra-added surprise.

I’m actually taking two additional courses with Dr. Dawkins next term, and if this term has taught me something, it is to be open to courses I may not think I’ll enjoy and that the classes will likely be highlights in my schedule. I look forward to seeing what comes next.

Steph Bee