PopKult is devoted to the popular, contemporary cultures of Russia, Poland, Ukraine, and other Eurasian countries. We will focus primarily on music and movies, two elements that help form the basis of any modern popular culture. Other topics for inclusion may include advertising, Internet memes and viral posts, televised media, consumer culture, and other aspects of modern life. PopKult is one of several projects of The School of Russian and Asian Studies.
Note that we have categorized our materials based on language, not nationality. Thus, a Latvian band that sings in both Latvian and Russian can be found in both of those categories.
This purpose for this site is two-fold. The first goal of PopKult is to provide students of language and culture modern material. Songs and movies can be excellent ways to improve language skills. Much of popular culture is specifically engineered to provide memorable language and images, making a great resource for students but one that can be hard to fully access and understand from a distance.
The second goal of PopKult is to provide a greater understanding of what modern life is like in Eurasian countries. Too often our understanding of these destinations is based on stereotypes heavily flavored by news and movies that tend to focus on politics, spies, and crime. In reality, of course, although the traditions and worldviews dominant in these places may differ heavily from those in the West, life in fact feels very “normal” once students are on the ground. People go to work, watch TV, browse social media, go to movies with friends – while it should not be surprising, these things are as much a part of the lives of young Russians, Poles, Ukrainians, and Central Asians as they are for Americans.
We hope as well that by introducing these aspects of modern culture, we might help facilitate conversations between locals and our students once they are on the ground by giving more of a common experience from which to draw upon. Locals are often greatly impressed by foreigners who understand their language and culture.
Materials for PopKult were generated by SRAS students. The initial bands listed here come from years of listing top bands and films in the SRAS newsletter. Currently, Russian bands and films are heavily favored as those have been our focus over the past few years. We plan, however, to soon focus on other languages and nationalities to help provide a better picture of life in those countries as well.
The School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS) specializes in study, research, and travel abroad to Russia and Eurasia. SRAS also maintains this site and provides other free info for students studying Russia and Eurasia. Explore our resources to find out more!
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