Pop Culture: European-American Trends

Freie Universität Berlin

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Pop Culture: European-American Trends

  • Host University

    Freie Universität Berlin

  • Location

    Berlin, Germany

  • Area of Study

    American Studies, Communication, European Studies, Media and Journalism, Sociology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    “Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news,” roared Chuck Berry in 1956, the drummer banging out an unforgiving back beat, the pianist playing a chaotic boogie, and the double bassist adding buoyancy with a forceful walking bass line. The song, now legendary in rock music history, became a mantra for the global youth culture which positioned pop music and ultimately pop culture in opposition to what back then was considered classics and high culture. This rebellious attitude had different impact on the children of the “Greatest Generation” in suburban United States than it had on post-war Germans in West Germany who, in the words of Wim Wenders, were all-too willing to be culturally colonized, or on British teenagers who appropriated blues, country, rock and skiffle as a means of blurring the borders of a class society. Since Kurt Weill, the German-American composer of The Threepenny Opera made a claim that there is no high or low but only good and bad music, scholars have engaged in a debate about the value of pop culture and about discourses that would be appropriate and productive in addressing it. There is no argument, however, about its significance and influence on the way we live and perceive our respective environments.

    This course features a comprehensive analysis of popular culture phenomena with a special focus on European-American trends and mutual influences. We will discuss how popular culture reflects social and political developments in film, music, fiction, poetry and fine arts. We will be addressing the notions and representations of the American Dream, transatlantic perspectives on the American exceptionalism, the pop cultural phenomenon of disaster fantasies and post-apocalyptic scenarios in a transnational perspective.  

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations