Pop Psychology

Spring 2018-2019

25150

Shirl Yang

This course takes for its premise that our understanding of psychological study is as fundamentally shaped by popular culture as it is by science. Using a constellation of literary, filmic and televisual, and other popular texts, we will consider how modes of psychological study, manipulation, and repair figure in the American popular imagination. Our eclectic archive will include pamphlets on psychological warfare, psychological thrillers, sitcoms, reality tv, studies on personality tests, and self-help tracts. Students will be encouraged to bring in their own examples as well. We will ask: what conception of human motivation and susceptibility, unconscious phenomena, collective feeling, or the form of “the therapeutic” do these texts carry? What aesthetic, formal, medial conventions or innovations can we track across our transmedial archive? (Fiction, Theory)