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Progenitor of “Popular Culture” Professor Ray B. Browne Gone

from the Toledo Blade

RAY B. BROWNE, 1922-2009
BGSU professor began popular culture center

BOWLING GREEN – Ray B. Browne, 87, who created an academic discipline and a national movement by studying the stuff of everyday life – whether comic books, fast food, pop tunes, or situation comedies – died Thursday in his home of congestive heart failure.

“He’s the father of popular culture studies,” said Gary Hoppenstand, a professor of American studies at Michigan State University, and a popular culture graduate student at Bowling Green State University and protege of Mr. Browne’s.

“He’s done more to affect studies in the humanities than any other individual the last 30 or 40 years.”

Mr. Browne began the Center for the Study of Popular Culture in 1968 at BGSU. The Popular Culture Library followed.

In 1973, despite detractors, he began a distinct department of popular culture. His history of the popular culture movement’s early struggle is called Against Academia.

“Ray opened the windows of the academy, just opened them up,” said Michael Marsden, one of the department’s first faculty members, now dean and academic vice president of St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wis. “We have the people’s culture being studied, and we’re learning how complex and wonderful and significant it is.”

The BGSU department was the first of its kind.

[ click to continue reading at ToledoBlade.com ]

Posted on November 1, 2009 by Editor

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