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Library Research Guides

Popular Culture

Provides resources for popular culture research at the University of Michigan.

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.

Primary Source Popular Culture Collections at U-M

Askwith Media Library:  A collection of over 25,000 titles, including feature films, documentaries, animated films, and instructional programs.

Clements Library: Popular culture, ephemera/realia, manuscripts on women’s history and gender, and commercial photography covering North American history from Columbus through the 19th century,

Comic Books & Graphic Novels:  Comic Books and Graphic Novels Collection at the Art, Architecture and Engineering Library.

Computer and Video Game Archive:  Collects materials relating to games  for the purpose of academic inquiry, including but not limited to: programming and technology, artistic and literary expression, social and cultural impact, and instruction and education.

Donald Hall Collection:  Part of the Screen Arts & Cultures Department (SAC) in LSA, the DHC contains thousands of screenplays, DVDs, videotapes, and laserdiscs. While the DHC's media collection is only available for checkout by SAC faculty and graduate students, screenplays are available for university-wide checkout, and viewing stations are available for patrons who wish to screen films for academic assignments or personal pleasure

Imageworks:  The collection consists of approximately 110,000 slides, approximately 2,000 videos and DVDs, and numerous blueprints and maps.

Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive:  A collection of American culinary history: cookbooks and other materials from the 16th through the 20th century.

Labadie Collection:  Collection's strengths include: anarchism, civil liberties , socialism, communism, colonialism and imperialism, American labor history through the 1930s, the IWW, the Spanish Civil War, sexual freedom, the underground press, and student protest.

MLibrary Image Collections:  Collections of digitized images of artworks, cultural and historical artifacts, etc., from museums and other sources maintained by the UM Digital Library Production Service. The collections include those held by the University of Michigan.

Music Library:   Recognized as one of the world's major music collections, the University of Michigan Music Library supports the performance, teaching, and research activities of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

Screen Arts Mavericks & Makers:  U-M Library is home to extensive archives and materials documenting the careers of several American filmmakers known for coloring outside the lines: Robert Altman, Ira Deutchman, Alan Rudolph, Nancy Savoca, John Sayles, and Orson Welles.

Shapiro Undergraduate Library Browsing Collection:  This leisure reading collection supports learning and exploration outside of the academic classroom with current and bestselling fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, and travel guides.

Shapiro Undergraduate Library Periodical Collection:  Current popular magazines on culture, news, and entertainment from around the world.