Fall 2015 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Brown, Matt
Discipline and Number
ARHM 2343 Section 001
T Time 7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
Course Title
Science and Popular Culture

Description of Course:

This course will focus on portrayals of science in popular culture. Science is a process of research and inquiry, usually involving empirical evidence, which we will take to include natural, human, and social sciences as well as medical research and engineering. Popular culture includes fiction and non-fiction across all forms of media---such as printed text, art, film, television, comic books, and digital media---that is intended for a general audience. This course will have three main units: (I) Representations of Scientists, (II) The Scientific Process, and (III) Science in Society. Specific topics will include The Mad Scientist, Scientist as Intrepid Explorer, Scientist as Nerd, Science as Religion / Myth, and Science and Nationalism.

Required Texts:


The following books are required reading

Books have been ordered at Off Campus Books, and likely cannot be found at the on-campus Follett University Bookstore. My preference is that you order the version of the books that are available there, or linked below via Amazon, so that we can refer to shared page numbers in class discussion. Hard copies are preferred for the same reason. You may use a distraction-free eReader version with prior approval of the instructor. Off Campus Books is a locally-owned business, and you should consider supporting it over ordering online.


The following films will need to be watched outside of class. I will make an effort to schedule screenings for each of these movies prior to class.

  • Real Genius (1986) by Martha Coolidge
  • Primer (2004) by Shane Carruth
  • Creation (2009) by John Amiel
  • Gorillas in the Mist (1988) by Michael Apted (optional)

The most economical way to watch any of these movies will be to check various streaming services.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

1. Attendance and participation
2. Midterm exam
3. Show and tell -- Bring an example of pop culture fitting daily theme and critically analyze it.
4. Final exam -- Essay format
5. Quizzes as needed -- to ensure students are keeping up with reading assignments

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