The Popular Culture Initiative logo, featuring the words "the popular culture initiative" styled to look like a pink neon sign.

The Popular Culture Initiative

Popular culture shapes, reflects, circulates, and challenges how society thinks about itself. Rejecting any attempt to artificially restrict what counts as a significant cultural object, the popular culture initiative invites and facilitates investigations into popular film, television, music, games, and the internet, and many other popular texts and practices.

It is vital at this time of cultural fracture that the humanities engage fully with the popular, both to ground ourselves in public concerns and to make sense of the contemporary moment. The popular culture initiative is a public-facing, energetic effort to connect scholarship, curriculum, and outreach and engagement in a vibrant center of campus inquiry and programming.

In 2023–24, the popular culture initiative is proud to support UCHI’s love in public theme, including the joint event “Can You Fall in Love with Chat GPT?”—an exploration of new developments in AI through a popular culture lens.

The study of popular culture is a vital part of a relevant, outward-facing humanities. I’m passionate about making UCHI a vibrant center for popular culture studies.

Stephen Dyson, Associate Director, UCHI

The UConnPopCast

Subscribe to the UConnPopCast, featuring scholarly analyses of popular culture, interviews with prominent scholars, and live podcast recordings.

Subscribe on YouTube Subscribe via Apple Podcasts


The Pop Culture Initiative hosts regular events that explore different aspects of the popular from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives.

2023–2024 Events

September 13, 12:00pm–1:00pm, UCHI Conference Room
Danielle Lindemann, What Reality TV Says About Us

October 23, 4:00pm–5:30pm, Konover Auditorium
“Can You Fall in Love with Chat GPT? A Panel Discussion”

Research Funding

UConn Faculty working in popular culture are especially encouraged to apply for UCHI funding. UCHI funds invited speakers, conferences, research, and book subventions.


MA in politics and popular culture. A master’s degree hosted by the department of political science in politics and popular culture.

Humanities House Learning Community. A residential living and learning community in the humanities, with particular focus on popular culture.

Popular Culture Studies Working Group. A writing, reading, and discussion group focused on the scholarly study of popular culture.

The Center for the Study of Popular Music (CSPM) brings together UConn scholars from various departments, disciplines, and schools and colleges into a space for collaborative work, programming and curricular development opportunities.