From the Beats to Big Brother: Popular Culture Since the 1950s - 2017

This unit contains mature content including Adult Themes, Coarse Language, Drug use and Sex / Sexual References and may not be suitable for some students.
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Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 3
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Availability for 2018: Sem1
  • Assessment: Analysis Task - Primary source analysis (15%) , Quiz - Weekly Quiz (25%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

This unit was previously known as HST370 From the Beats to Big Brother: Popular Culture Since the 1950s.

What can we learn about the past when we study popular culture? This unit traces a history of popular culture in the United States of America and Australia from the 1950s to the present. We particularly focus on the ways in which class, gender, race and politics have shaped the experience of popular culture. Film, television, music, music video and other media are used in this unit to evoke seminal moments in the history of popular culture and students are encouraged to explore such non-discursive forms as primary sources. Students are also encouraged to consider the reception of popular culture by audiences and to think about their own experience of popular culture historically. This unit will be of particular interest to students in media and cultural studies, as well as history.

In this unit students will:

  1. locate, read and analyse different kinds of historical evidence (primary sources), including visual and textual sources;
  2. devise and answer research questions drawing on primary and secondary evidence;
  3. identify key arguments in secondary source materials and apply them in your own historical arguments;
  4. communicate thoughtfully in classroom discussions, and in a range of written forms;
  5. be able to identify and analyze key developments in the history of popular culture since 1945;
  6. analyze selected examples of popular culture produced since 1945 in their historical contexts, and to describe the ways these examples relate to, and reflect, broader social, cultural and political trends;
  7. explain how the social and political movements of this period were reflected in popular culture.
  • Analysis Task — Primary source analysis (15%)
  • Quiz — Weekly Quiz (25%)
  • Research Essay — Research essay proposal (20%)
  • Research Project (40%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • HST370 — From the Beats to Big Brother: Popular Culture Since the 1950s

You should have studied some History or Politics at Level 1 and 2 before starting this unit.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Historians and popular culture
2Popular culture and family life
3Suburban rebels
4Youth cultures
5The sixties and the counterculture
6Black power and popular culture
7Essay workshop
8The sexual revolution and the seventies
9The eighties
10Hip-hop and black culture
11Postmodern gender cultures
12Interactivity and reality TV

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Standard Media

Online materials

  • Resources and Links

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

  • Friday On Our Minds


    ISBN: 9780868406626


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

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