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Popular Culture

This guide is intended to help students find resources and scholarly works on popular culture. Relevant subjects may include, but are not limited to, film, television, music, genre fiction, advertisements, and gaming

What is Popular Culture?

Cultural Anthropology: Global Forces, Local Lives defines Popular Culture as: "Often contrasted with “high” or “official” culture, the cultural practices and creations of “the people.” Often used as a pejorative term to indi­cate the poor quality and low intelligence of such culture, in the contemporary world it has also become an important and vibrant form of culture, although one that is not entirely “of the people,” in the sense that large corporations often create and disseminate it."

The Popular Culture/American Culture Association defines it as "the study of the mainstream culture or that which is popular with the masses."

This guide is meant to assist in researching popular culture in all of its forms (and definitions!) and draws upon the relationship between popular culture and cultural studies. Please note that the number of media covered under the umbrella of "popular culture" makes it impossible for this guide to be comprehensive; use it instead as a starting point for your own research. Please email me with any questions, and happy searching!

Call Numbers

Below is a list of call number ranges for different popular culture-related subjects. use these numbers to browse the stacks for more resources! (Visit the Bowling Green State University site for more)

  • Popular Culture, general - CB 151 - CB 430
  • Games/recreation - GV 53- GV 188.3, GV 1243 - GV 1263
  • Gender - HQ 6017 - HQ 777
  • The Arts, general - NX 456
  • Media/communication - NX 650 - P 96
  • Superheroes/science fiction - P 96 - P 120
  • Fantasy/science fiction literature - PN 56
  • Fiction - PN 56.4 - PN 682
  • Performing Arts, general - PN 1560 - PN 1590
  • Radio - PN 1991, TK 6544
  • Television - PN 1992
  • Film/motion pictures - PN 1993-1998
  • Theatre - PN 2012
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy/Supernatural fiction - PN 3433 - PN 3435, PN 3448.S45, PS 648
  • Historical and Christian fiction - PN 3441 - PN 3448
  • Mystery/Detective fiction - PN 3448.D4
  • Magazines - PN 4700 - PN 4888, PS 379
    • covers such topics as: fanzines, market, women's, humor, underground, pulps, cult exploitation
  • Comics - PN 6707 - PN 6728, Z 1000
  • Writers - PQ 7082, PS 129 - PS 374
    • mystery, horror, scifi, western, romance, women's fiction

Subject Headings

Try these searches in the FSU Libraries Catalog! (Search by "subject heading" in the drop down menu)

subject headings searches:

Popular Culture (General)

  • Popular culture -- United States -- History -- 20th century


  • Popular literature--United States--History and criticism
  • Science fiction--History and criticism
  • Horror tales, American--History and criticism
  • Detective and mystery stories, American--History and criticism
  • Comic books, strips, etc.--United States--History and criticism
  • Graphic novels


  • Motion pictures--Social aspects
  • Film criticism
  • Comedy films--History and criticism
  • Horror films--History and criticism 
  • Science fiction films--History and criticism 
  • War films--History and criticism
  • Western films--History and criticism


  • Television criticism
  • Television--Philosophy
  • Television programs--United States--History and criticism
  • Detective and mystery television programs--United States--History and criticism
  • Game shows--United States
  • Soap operas--United States--History and criticism
  • Reality television programs


  • Popular music--Social aspects  
  • Popular music--United States--History and criticism
  • Country music--History and criticism
  • Jazz--History and criticism
  • Rock music--United States--History and criticism
  • Punk rock music--History and criticism
  • Rap (Music)--History and criticism

Gaming/Computers/Social Media

  • Electronic games--Social aspects
  • Computer games--Social aspects
  • Video games--Social aspects
  • Internet--Social aspects
  • Digital media--Social aspects
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