SOC-130 The Sociology of Supposedly Fun Entertainment

Why do we spend so much time and effort trying to entertain ourselves, and why do many of these attempts fail so miserably?  In the 1990s and 2000s, fiction author David Foster Wallace published a series of essays on Americans' efforts to entertain themselves. The essays consider television, state fairs, talk radio, luxury cruises, and more. Challenging, provocative, and funny, Wallace's essays inspire rich sociological questions about how entertainment choices impact our thoughts, identities, and relationships. Students will read and discuss selections from Wallace and several other social observers, and the course will culminate in a project that allows students to sociologically analyze an entertainment of their own choosing.


3 credits