Recommended Books for my Pop Culture Class recently was asked by a student for further readings within a course I teach on Popular Culture.  The last two weeks we were dealing with looking at 2 thematic arcs.  The first was exploring the intersection of Race, Ethnicity, and Class with Popular Culture while the second was Gender, Sex, and Sexuality with Popular Culture.  Upon being asked, I figured I would peruse my library and assemble a good substantial reading list for the student (and ultimately the rest of the class as I made it a resource within the course) to enjoy.  Given that I had gone through the length to do so (thanks in large part to the ease of citation thanks to WorldCat), I figured I would also throw it out here on the blog as I'm sure there are others that could benefit from it.  

These are books that focus on those subjects mentioned above that have had a deep impact on how I understand them.  They are not the only books that I have read on the book, but they are the ones that have left me thinking long after I put the book down.


  •  Bederman, Gail. Manliness & Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States, 1880-1917. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.
  • Bennetts, Leslie. The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much?New York: Voice/Hyperion, 2007.
  • Bornstein, Kate. Gender Outlaw. S.l.: Vintage Books, 1994.
  • Califia, Patrick. Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism. San Francisco, Calif: Cleis Press, 1997.
  • Chauncey, George. Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Makings of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940. New York: Basic Books, 1994.
  • D'Emilio, John, and Estelle B. Freedman. Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America. New York: Harper & Row, 1988.
  • Fausto-Sterling, Anne. Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2000.
  • Feinberg, Leslie. Stone Butch Blues: A Novel. Ithaca, N.Y: Firebrand Books, 1993.
  • Gamson, Joshua. Freaks Talk Back: Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Nonconformity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.
  • Gilfoyle, Timothy J. City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790-1920. New York, N.Y: W.W. Norton, 1992.
  • Gilmore, Glenda E. Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.
  • Hawkeswood, William G, and Alex W. Costley. One of the Children: Gay Black Men in Harlem. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.
  • Illouz, Eva. Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997. 
  • Kristof, Nicholas D, and Sheryl WuDunn. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
  • MacKenzie, Gordene O. Transgender Nation. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1994.
  • Madrid, Mike. The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines. Ashland, Or.: Exterminating Angel Press, 2009.
  • Maines, Rachel. The Technology of Orgasm: "hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction. Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.
  • Meyerowitz, Joanne J. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2002.
  • Stansell, Christine. City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1789-1860. New York: Knopf, 1986.
  • Traister, Rebecca. Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women. New York: Free Press, 2010.


  • Chomsky, Aviva. "They Take Our Jobs!": And 20 Other Myths About Immigration. Boston, Mass: Beacon Press, 2007.
  • Diamond, Jared M. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 1998.
  • Du, Bois W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk. New York: Bantam Books, 1989.
  • Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2001.
  • Foley, Neil. The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in Texas Cotton Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.
  • Glassner, Barry. The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1999.
  • Gray, Herman. Watching Race: Television and the Struggle for "blackness". Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995.
  • Harper, Frances E. W. Iola Leroy, Or, Shadows Uplifted. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
  • Hartman, Saidiya V. Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Hunter, Tera W. To 'joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women's Lives and Labors After the Civil War. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1997.
  • Jones, Maldwyn A. American Immigration. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.
  • Class Matters. New York: Times Books, 2005.
  • Kozol, Jonathan. Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools. New York: Crown Pub, 1991.
  • Kozol, Jonathan. The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. New York: Crown Publishers, 2005.
  • Lhamon, W T. Raising Cain: Blackface Performance from Jim Crow to Hip Hop. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1998. 
  • Lipsitz, George. The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998.
  • Loewen, James W. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. New York: New Press, 1995
  • Lott, Eric. Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
  • Lowe, Lisa. Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics. Durham: Duke University Press, 1996.
  • Mills, Charles W. The Racial Contract. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997.
  • Basic Call to Consciousness. Summertown, Tenn: Native Voices, 2005. Print.
  • Renda, Mary A. Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.s. Imperialism, 1915-1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.
  • Rothenberg, Paula S. Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: An Integrated Study. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992.
  • Schaefer, Richard T. Race and Ethnicity in the United States. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall, 2001.
  • Schechter, Patricia A. Ida B. Wells-Barnett and American Reform, 1880-1930. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.
  • Smith, Michael P, and Joe R. Feagin. The Bubbling Cauldron: Race, Ethnicity, and the Urban Crisis. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995.
  • Touré, . Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?: What It Means to Be Black Now. New York: Free Press, 2011.
  • Trask, Haunani-Kay. From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaiʻi. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 1999.
  • Zinn, Howard. A People's History of the United States: 1492-present. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.
So what's on your recommended list for these categories?

Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.