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Ivy1101 American Culture, Beginning Questions: Please answer the following questions before class, there is no correct answer.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Define American culture in 5 sentences. What is an American Identity? Who is a typical American? Who do you think are the most influential Americans? Most Famous? What are the successes & positives of America? What are the failures and negatives? What has influenced American culture? How has American culture influenced the world? How are different parts of America different? The same? What interests you most about America? What is your biggest question?

10. Who are Native Americans? 11. Please define the following terms: a. Liberty b. Freedom c. Discrimination d. Democracy e. Individualism f. equal opportunity

INTERVIEW ON CULTURE, FOLKLORE, AND POP CULTURE- Professor Ray B. Browne Popular culture is the way of life in which and by which most people in any society live. In a democracy like the United States, it is the voice of the people their likes and dislikes that form the lifeblood of daily existence, of a way of life. Popular culture is the voice of democracy, democracy speaking and acting, the seedbed in which democracy grows. Popular culture democratizes society and makes democracy truly democratic. It is the everyday world around us: the mass media, entertainments, and diversions. It is our heroes, icons, rituals, everyday actions, psychology, and religion our total life picture. It is the way of living we inherit, practice and modify as we please, and how we do it. It is the dreams we dream while asleep.

Americana: We know you began in folklore. What first attracted you to the formal study of everyday life? Browne: I have always had a great deal of hope for the possible accomplishments of human intelligence if properly used, and to me so-called "higher education" was the route to that accomplishment. But I have thought that this "higher education" meant teaching the mind to think, not necessarily to remember. In other words, thinking was more important than remembering. Growing up in Alabama, I looked over at the University of Alabamaand other colleges and thought I saw that there was a great field of everyday life that needed to be studied and understood. From 1947-50 I taught at the University of Nebraska, famous for the folklorist Louise Pound, who had just retired, and my deep feeling for the importance of folklore was strengthened.

Americana: Tell us about your time at UCLA. Isn't that where you first formed this idea of studying something called "popular culture"? Browne: After three years of teaching at Nebraska, I went on for a Ph.D. at UCLA. There my feeling about the importance of the study of everyday culture was strengthenedor perhaps allowedby two of my professors, Wayland Hand, folklorist, and Leon Howard, an important scholar in American literature. Wayland did not understand what I was talking about when I told him I wanted to study "popular culture," that is everyday culture as distinguished from folklore (though they are essentially the same, except in different media). Leon Howard understood what I was talking about and allowed me to go ahead, especially after doing a summer's collecting of folksongs in Alabama. I told him about collecting The Lord's Prayer as a folksong. He thought that was significant. Americana: Why is the study of popular culture important? Browne: For a civilization to flourish and continue, it is important that all aspects be known because up until recently they were recognized as inseparable. For example, in England and Western Europe there was no separation of "elite" and common culture until the sixteenth century, when the powerful realized that by using their power they could pull themselves "above" the so-called masses. In early America, there was less distinction between the levels of society though the Reverend Cotton Mather, though preaching to the masses, detested some of their attitudes and practices. Even Benjamin Franklin, who published for and understood the common people, thought their music very crude and detestable.

But increasingly our culture is coming to realize that the proper study of a democratic society is its democratic cultures and practices, all. Some may be more desirable and respectable, but as Lincoln might have said, some cultures are desirable to some of the people some of the time and as such they are valuable as evidence of that segment of society. This evidence is clearly visible now in the interest we are seeing among archeologists who are digging around in tombs of the dead, not looking for gold but for everyday artifacts.