Bringing American Popular Culture to the English Departments in Indonesia*
One outcome of the globalization process is the growing influence and dominance of American popular culture. The speed with which American music, films, and goods have flooded the markets worldwide is remarkably high, thanks to the advancement of telecommunication technologies and the Internet. Increased cultural transfer or, more precisely, internationalization of American culture has posed both fear and fascination to other cultures. How do people in the academia respond to this conundrum of
... this conundrum of cross-cultural contacts? What do we teach when we teach popular culture? What viable research in American popular culture is encouraged so as to result in impartially beneficial impacts for society at large? This paper is to argue that one can become an avid learner or critic of a certain culture when s/he finds meaningful connections between that culture and life itself. The teaching of American popular culture in the English Department, for instance, has to be locally contextualized, learner-participant oriented, and socially self-actualized. In this way, American Studies outside the U. S. may in turn become less centralized as the interchange of cross-cultural understanding takes place concurrently.