Jon Marcus visits a department dedicated to the study of popular culture, a growing scholarly field

In a small town in rural Ohio, the heartland of the US, stands a building that resembles America’s attic. This is the library of the department of popular culture at Bowling Green State University.

It is stuffed to the brim with romance novels, board games, greeting cards, comic books, mail-order catalogues, matchbook covers, vinyl records and Star Trek memorabilia.

Bowling Green is the only American university to have a department of popular culture – the term itself is said to have been coined by the late Ray Browne, distinguished university professor emeritus in popular culture, who co-founded the programme in 1973.

Dr Browne, who initially had trouble persuading colleagues that popular culture was a serious academic discipline, died last year at the age of 87. But the field he pioneered is thriving.

Read the full story in the Times Higher Education

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