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University of Colorado Boulder

Fandom, Community, and Identity in Popular Music

University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera


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In "Fandom, Community, and Identity in Popular Music," you will explore the intersections of fandom and popular culture using pop music as a framework. You will apply your skills of self-reflection and close reading/analysis to a few case studies of pop musicians and the ways in which their art inhabits and evolves in pop culture spaces. You will learn about what it means to be a music fan, and therefore to be a fan in general. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to express your creativity as a fan by making something to contribute back into your fandom. This project will ask you to apply your self-reflection and close reading frameworks, and will ground your studies of fandom and pop culture in your lived experience (both physical and virtual). Course-Level Learning Outcomes * Define and describe the dynamics of popular music and its relationship with fandom, popular culture, and digital media * Apply critical self-reflection and close reading frameworks through analytical writing and creative expression * Engage with pop culture and fandom communities by leveraging online platforms to make connections and synthesize learning * Reflect on your personal relationship to popular music, popular art, and how popular culture intersects with memory and nostalgia Course 2 Skills: * Analysis * Evaluation * Critical Thinking * Communication * Creativity * Close Reading


  • The Shape and Scope of Pop Music Fandom
    • In this module, you will explore the shape and scope of pop music fandom by analyzing not only the music itself through a few high-profile case studies, but also considering the ways we access music in the digital age and the connection between music and memory, nostalgia and community.
  • Close Listening, Music Fandom, and Cultural Change
    • In this module, you will explore the joys of “close listening” by digging deeper into your music fandom and the ways in which it connects to your identity and to your engagement with digital media. You’ll prepare your Making Fandom project for submission, and have a chance to revisit the self-reflection and analysis frameworks we’ve been practicing and applying. You’ll also learn about hip hop culture and representation through a case study of rapper Kendrick Lamar.
  • Globalized and Mobilized: Pop Music Fandom
    • In this module, you will explore how pop music fandom travels the globe by digging into the example of k-pop (a music and dance aesthetic originating in South Korea). While you’re preparing your Making Fandom project for submission, you will learn about the digital media channels that facilitate global pop, and consider some of the influence these global patterns have had on American music, culture, and politics.

Taught by

Christopher Haynes


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