Therapeutic Conversations about Pop Culture by Julie Tilsen

Cultural studies is an interdisciplinary field informed by methods and theories from literary studies, sociology, communication studies, history, cultural anthropology, feminist theory, and economics. Cultural studies focuses on the investigation of subjectivity and power in the social world, and in particular, in popular culture.

In this video, Julie introduces cultural studies methodologies as conceptual and conversational resources that help us have meaningful and productive conversations about peoples’ relationships with the commodities and practices of popular and media culture.  The video provides a brief overview of cultural studies, questions for reflections, sample questions from the three domains of inquiry (political economy, textual analysis, and audience reception), and suggestions for further reading.

Julie provides clinical supervision, training and consultation to a variety of agencies, therapists, and youthworkers focused on socially just, anti-oppressive, and harm-reduction practices. She is the author of Therapeutic Conversations with Queer Youth: Transcending Homonormativity & Constructing Preferred Identities (2013, Rowman & Littlefield), as well as professional journal articles and book chapters.

Julie’s work is featured in several counselor training videos produced by Alexander Street Press and UPG Media, including: Queer Theory in Action: Theoretical Resources for Therapeutic Conversations (parts 1 & 2); iYouth: Kids, Counseling, and Pop Culture; Feedback Informed Treatment; Supervision of Feedback Informed Treatment; Therapy as Social Construction; and Beyond The Binary: Therapeutic Conversations with Queer Youth. 

Published June 24, 2016

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Katie Heiden-Rootes

    Hi Julie –
    I have a supervisee who is working with mostly African American young children and adolescents. She has talked about “gangsta rap” and it seems more negative then understanding. She does raise some interesting points about the sexism that is in the lyrics and imagery. But hip-hop and rap are significant forms of music (and places of resistance) for African Americans. I wonder how to invite her to consider this and consider how her judgment may limit her understanding of the power in this music.

    1. Julie Tilsen

      Hey Katie–great question! One of the first things I go to is this: “talking about something doesn’t mean we’re endorsing it.” So, the focus is first and always, engagement and seeking to understand (not agree). That’s where the questions can come in handy–whats the significance of the music in the young person’s life? How is their relationship w/rap situated in their context? What meaning are they making? Also, investigation of political economy and the history of white capitalization of black art (not just rap) is important. Who is profiting at whose expense? What are the negotiated meanings—that is, there may be a complex read of this, a both/and–make sense?

      What might this young person be protesting in in their life thru the music? What does the music make possible? Who do they get to be when listening (do they insert themselves in the song –textual poaching)? What might be some areas they’re concerned about? If they could re-work the song, what might they change? who could they ask to co-produce a response record? These are some places I’d start.

      Hope that helps–thanks for watching

Leave a Reply