Pop-Crit Portland Launches College Prep Summer Program

Industry: Education

Course engages Portland high school students in examining mass media and thinking critically about popular culture

Portland, Ore. (PRUnderground) May 20th, 2015

Ivy League Edge announced today that registration has begun for a new summer college-readiness program open to local high school students. Pop-Crit Portland runs for 6 weeks in July and August at the Multnomah Arts Center in Portland, Oregon. Taught by college instructor, Dr. Sean Miller, students develop college-level reading and writing skills while exploring an exciting new subject, popular culture criticism.

In a 2010 national survey, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 8 to 18 year-olds spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes each day using entertainment media. This amounts to over 53 hours a week. “As consumers of popular culture,” said Dr. Miller, “it’s in our best interest to thoroughly understand its power and reach. In the program, we do just that.” The mission of Pop-Crit Portland is to empower teens to better understand the implications of their media consumption.

Popular culture criticism is an academic discipline that examines mass media—ranging from television shows to advertising to social media—using analytical methods adapted from literary and art criticism, philosophy, and sociology. In the past, academics dismissed mass culture as a legitimate object of study. It was considered trash for the uneducated masses. More recently, scholars have come to recognize that the distinction between high and low culture—between art and trash—is political, rather than aesthetic. As Alex Ross writes in The New Yorker, “The old hierarchy of high and low has become a sham: pop is the ruling party.”

With this recognition, the discipline of popular culture criticism has exploded in prominence at research universities. There is a thriving scholarly association, the Popular Culture Association (PCA), dedicated to the field’s advancement, along with a widely-distributed academic journal, The Journal of Popular Culture.

Sean-circle-V1-646x646.pngUsing popular culture as their arena, students in the program practice skills crucial to success in college. “The value of Pop-Crit Portland,” said Dr. Miller, “is that we take something—popular culture—that, at first glance, seems superficial, but actually has a profound influence in shaping our society, and use it as a vehicle to develop intellectually rigorous reading and writing skills.”

To learn more about the Pop-Crit Portland Summer Program, visit http://popcritportland.com

About Ivy League Edge

Ivy League Edge is an edtech company that helps high school students get into their first-choice college—and excel academically when they get there. The company makes 2 apps. Foyl, Your College Interview Practice Buddy, is available for free download on the Apple App Store. Readerly is an app that empowers students to dramatically increase their scores on the reading sections of the SAT and ACT. Ivy League Edge also hosts Pop-Crit Portland, a college-readiness summer program that uses popular culture criticism to train teens to read and write with intellectual rigor.

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