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Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers / Edition 7

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Overview

Instructors who have used Signs of Life in the USA know that students love to talk and write about popular culture. They can attest that it teaches students to read and write critically about pop culture by providing them with a conceptual framework: semiotics, a field of study developed specifically for the interpretation of culture and its signs.

Signs of Life is written by a prominent semiotician and an experienced writing instructor, and it has been extensively updated to account for the rapid evolution of contemporary trends and student interests. It features insightful themes with provocative and current reading selections that ask students to think analytically about America’s popular culture: How has niche advertising been used to develop a highly detailed profile of your consumer habits? Why are Americans so transfixed by "bad guys"? Signs of Life bridges the transition to college writing by providing students with academic language to talk about the significance of our shared cultural experiences.

And now with the new edition, you can meet students where they are: online. Our newest set of online materials, LaunchPad Solo, provides all the key tools and course-specific content that you need to teach your class. Get all our great course-specific materials in one fully customizable space online; then assign and mix our resources with yours. To package LaunchPad Solo free with Signs of Life in the USA, use ISBN 978-1-319-01383-7.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312647001
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 11/21/2011
  • Edition description: Seventh Edition
  • Edition number: 7
  • Pages: 704
  • Sales rank: 38,745
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

The coeditors are successful textbook authors who, between them, have over fifty years of teaching experience in the college classroom. Sonia Maasik, a lecturer in the UCLA Writing Programs, has taught writing from developmental to advanced levels, and coordinates training for UCLA writing programs' teaching assistants. Jack Solomon, a professor of English at California State University, Northridge, teaches literature and critical theory, along with his graduate and undergraduate classes on popular cultural semiotics, and is often interviewed by the media for analysis of current events and trends. He is the author of The Signs of Our Time (1988) and Discourse and Reference in the Nuclear Age (1988).  The two together have published Signs of Life in the U.S.A.: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers, Sixth Edition (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009) and California Dreams and Realities, Third Edition (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005).

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Table of Contents

Preface for Instructors v
Introduction: Popular Signs: Or, Everything You've Always Known about American Culture (But Nobody Asked) 1
Writing about Popular Culture 21
Part 1 Cultural Productions 43
1. Consuming Passions: The Culture of American Consumption 45
The More Factor 55
The Signs of Shopping 62
What's in a Package 69
Hard Bodies 79
Blue Jeans 86
The Semiotics of Home Decor 94
"Careful, You May Run Out of Planet": SUVs and the Exploitation of the American Myth 105
2. Brought to You B(u)y: The Signs of Advertising 117
The Parable of the Democracy of Goods 129
Masters of Desire: The Culture of American Advertising 137
A Gentleman and a Consumer 149
Sex, Lies, and Advertising 160
How Advertising Informs to Our Benefit 180
The Fiction of Truth in Advertising 188
Web of Deceit 194
Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz 202
Portfolio of Advertisements 210
3. Video Dreams: The Signs of Music and Television 223
A Tale of Two Sitcoms 236
The Oprah Winfrey Show and the Talk-Show Furor 241
Plotting Paternity: Looking for Dad on the Daytime Soaps 249
Signs of Intelligent Life on TV 260
Rewriting Popularity: The Cult Files 265
Twentysomethings 276
Bad Sistas 279
4. The Hollywood Sign: The Culture of American Film 289
The Thematic Paradigm 299
Creating the Myth 308
Braveheart, Babe, and the Contemporary Body 317
Malcolm X 328
So You Wanna Be a Gangsta? 337
Asian Women in Film: No Joy, No Luck 349
The Return of Doris Day 357
Class and Virtue 366
5. It Was A Dark And Stormy Night: The Codes of Popular Literature 371
The ABCs of Popular Culture 382
Selection from Blade Runner 385
Roadside Bones 393
Cult 398
Grisham Succeeds in a Novel Way 414
The Traditional Romance Formula 418
Selection from Dangerous Passions 425
Hope I Die before Marcia Gets Old 428
Reading at Escape Velocity 430
Part 2 Cultural Constructions 435
6. We've Come A Long Way, Maybe: Gender Codes in American Culture 437
Gender Role Behaviors and Attitudes 447
The Gender Blur: Where Does Biology End and Society Take Over? 453
Power at Play: Sport and Gender Relations 460
Boys-R-Us: Board Games and the Socialization of Young Adolescent Girls 472
The Beauty Myth 481
There Is No Unmarked Woman 490
Warrior Dreams 496
Women and Children First: Gender and the Settling of the Electronic Frontier 505
7. Constructing Race: Readings in Multicultural Semiotics 515
In Living Color: Race and American Culture 526
Put on a Happy Face: Masking the Differences Between Blacks and Whites 538
Funky White Boys and Honorary Soul Sisters 549
Goin' Gangsta, Choosin' Cholita 562
Baby 568
Being an Other 570
How to Tame a Wild Tongue 575
The Classroom and the Wider Culture: Identity as a Key to Learning English Composition 583
The Haves and the Have-Nots 593
8. Life on the Margins: Representing the "Other" in American Culture 599
Signs of the Street: A Conversation 609
The Mind of the Militias 618
Race, Sex, AIDS: The Construction of "Other" 625
Beauty and the Battle 636
American Dreams 640
The End of Adulthood? 645
Don't Further Empower Cliques 653
9. American Icons: The Mythic Characters of Popular Culture 657
Be Like Mike? Michael Jordan and the Pedagogy of Desire 667
What Makes Superman So Darned American? 677
Batman, Deviance, and Camp 686
Lara Croft, the Bit Girl 702
Our Barbies, Ourselves 706
Barbie, G.I. Joe, and Play in the 1960s 710
Snap! Crackle! Plot! 716
Larger Than Life 720
10. Popular Spaces: Interpreting the Built Environment 733
Disney World: Public Use/Private State 744
The Science of Shopping 757
The Man-Made World 764
Spatial Segregation and Gender Stratification in the Workplace 771
Alternating Currents 778
The Ghetto Cityscape 784
Manifest Congestion: Freeway Landscapes and Timescapes 790
Country Music Goes on the Road 797
Glossary 803
Citing Sources 807
Index of Authors and Titles 819
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