Popular Culture Pioneer Edits Two New Compilations

Pinocchio and NASCAR don’t often come up in the same discussion, but in a new book titled Profiles of Popular Culture: A Reader, the two otherwise disparate subjects are both at home.

Dr. Ray B. Browne, the book’s editor and a Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of popular culture at BGSU, employs essays about Pinocchio and NASCAR fans as part of explorations of myths and heroes, respectively. He similarly uses other essays, from both scholarly and mainstream media, to help illustrate broader topics from A (advertising) to V (vacationing and sightseeing), with food, fads and fashion among those in between.

While Profiles of Popular Culture serves as both an academic book and a reference for a general audience interested in popular culture’s role in contemporary society, a second new volume edited by Browne is specifically subtitled Essays for Educators.

That book, Popular Culture Studies Across the Curriculum, emphasizes the need for interdisciplinary mingling and explores ways in which popular culture studies can deepen inquiry in particular fields. The 18 essays span campus curricula, including the humanities, social sciences, geography, women’s studies, business and economics. The importance of popular culture courses in community colleges and high schools is also addressed.

McFarland & Company Inc. is the publisher of Popular Culture Studies Across the Curriculum, while Profiles of Popular Culture is published by the Popular Press, an imprint of the University of Wisconsin Press. Browne and his wife, Pat, founded the Popular Press at BGSU. It was acquired by the University of Wisconsin three years ago.

After coming to Bowling Green in 1967, Ray Browne also established a center for popular culture study and the Journal of Popular Culture. Often credited with coining the term, he also co-founded the Popular Culture Association, BGSU’s Department of Popular Culture—the first academic department of its kind in the nation—and the University’s Popular Culture Library, which is now named in his and his wife’s honor.

Named a Distinguished University Professor in 1977, he created the Journal of American Culture the following year and remained a full-time teacher until retiring in 1992. He has continued to work as a writer and editor, with more than 70 books and hundreds of articles to his credit.
July 18, 2005