This course takes globally circulating forms of commercial youth culture (especially popular music, fashion, movies, and television) as sites for analyzing interconnected processes of cultural change and cultural continuity. Using ethnographically based studies of youth in a variety of national contexts, we will approach young people as agents who draw on locally embedded resources in consuming global cultural forms and also create new, hybridized forms of culture that have both local and global roots. In these emerging youthscapes, cultural flow is not simply from "West to Rest" but is multidirectional, as locally produced hybrid forms circulate across national boundaries and sometimes back to Western markets. In mapping such flows, we will focus on their implications for identity formation among youth. In what ways, we will ask, do young people in particular sociocultural locations use the production and/or consumption of commercial cultural forms in orienting themselves vis-à-vis global and local worlds and in imagining and pursuing possible futures?
Designed primarily for anthropology majors, the course also admits students from other majors with serious interests in ethnographic youth-cultural research.