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Library Research Guides

Popular Culture

Guide to Popular Culture Resources at the University of Michigan.

Welcome

Welcome to the Popular Culture at MLibrary guide! Here you will find help identifying and locating the impressive array of resources available at U-M pertaining to popular culture scholarship and research. Since research related to popular culture may touch on a very wide variety of topics, there are many ways to think about popular culture and the resources offered by the U-M Library.

Different ways to approach finding popular culture materials:

Genre/Format 

Our collections include many different types of materials. These include films, television shows, magazines and newspapers both in print and digital formats, music recordings and scores, comic books, video games, screenplays, and books and articles on current and popular topics. Some of these materials might be located together (for example, most movies and tv shows can be found in the Askwith Media Library). Others may be dispersed throughout our large collections and found by searching the library catalog, Mirlyn. Or there may be online databases that gather materials together by format.  Find more details under the "U-M Primary Sources" tab, and the related research guides, below.

By Subject

Find popular culture materials related to your area of study. For example, if you are researching the Cold War, you may be interested in how the Cold War was discussed in popular media at the time - i.e., newspapers and magazines, or television and film. Databases or other resources that focus on your area of study may also lead you to popular treatments or aspects of the subject. Use the list of related research guides, below, or search for other guides for your discipline or field of study.

This guide was originally researched and created by University Library Associate for Learning and Teaching, Maria Seiferle-Valencia.

What's Pop and What's Not?

Marilyn Monroe, by Andy Warhol 1964

Find more images like this at MLibrary


Research on popular culture can be challenging because of the interdisciplinary nature of the subject. This guide defines popular culture as mass-produced materials that are representative of aspects of mainstream culture, including movies, music, television shows, literature, comic books and video games.

Studying Popular Culture at U-M

Want to learn more about the study of popular culture? Looking for a fun class? You can find classes related to popular culture across a wide variety of departments and disciplines at U-M. Some departments, listed below, may offer more classes directly related to popular and mass culture (note this list is not comprehensive).

Relevant research guides

Find suggested resources related to subjects or formats/genres relevant to popular culture.