Ray Browne on the Culture Studies Revolution

An Anthology of His Key Writings


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About the Book

Author and educator Ray Browne combined interests in folklore, literature, and American Studies into a groundbreaking approach to the study of the humanities and social sciences, a field which eventually came to be known as Popular Culture Studies. In addition to co-founding both the Journal of Popular Culture and the Journal of American Culture, Browne wrote and published more than 80 articles and book chapters and eight books, and edited almost 50 other book-length volumes. This collection features his key culture studies writings from a decades-long academic career. It includes some of Browne’s most influential and notable scholarship, along with previously unpublished work, corrected pieces, and “new” articles edited from multiple sources.

About the Author(s)

The late Ray B. Browne (1922–2009) edited the Journal of Popular Culture, served as an officer of the Popular Culture Association and wrote prolifically on the subject. He was the founding chair of the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green (Ohio) State University.
Ben Urish is a culturologist specializing in mass media, popular culture, and humor studies. The author of several books, he was one of the last students Ray Browne taught before retirement.

Bibliographic Details

Ray B. Browne
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 212
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4162-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Editor’s Acknowledgments (Ben Urish)      v

Foreword ( John Cawelti)      1

Preface: Ray B. Browne, Freely Engaged (Ben Urish)      3

Prologue. On Redefining Cultural Studies      9


1. Popular Culture: Notes Toward a Definition      15

2. Popular Culture: New Notes Toward a Definition      21

3. The Many Faces of American Culture: The Long Push to Democracy      27

4. The Humanities as Redefined Through Popular Culture      40

5. Popular Culture: Medicine for Illiteracy and Associated Educational Ills      49


6. Up from Elitism: The Aesthetics of Popular Fiction      63

7. The Repressive Nature of TV Esthetics Criticism      74

8. The Face of the Hero in Democracy      84

9. The Theory-Methodology Complex: The Critics’ Jabberwock      94

10. Internationalizing Popular Culture Studies      104

11. The Vanishing Global Village      116


12. Whale Lore and Popular Print in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America: Sketches Toward a Profile      127

13. The Seat of Democracy: The Privy Humor of “Chic” Sale      135

14. Sherlock Holmes as Christian Detective: The Case of the Invisible Thief      143


15. The Rape of the Vulnerable      153

16. Class Reunions as a Folk Festival      159

17. The ASA and Its Friends      164

18. Folklore to Populore      168

19. Replying to a Rejoinder      172

20. American Studies and Humanity’s Dream      175

21. Russel B. Nye: The Richness of His Life      177

22. Reviews      178

Epilogue. Education: Forward to Democratic Fluency      189

Annotated Bibliography      193

Index      197