Lesson 1: Culture? What Culture?

Which Culture?

Culture can be separated into two general categories: "Big C" culture and "Little c" culture. We all learned at least some "Big C" culture in our language classes: Who are the great writers, artists, and musicians? What are the lasting, famous works of art, music, and literature? What are the great moments in this culture's history?

What about "Little c" knowledge, things such as the features of daily life, popular culture, and social mores? How much information on the ephemeral "popular" culture is enough? Too much?

Play

On "Big C" and "Little c" culture.

Duration: 03:21

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In American/U.S. culture, which of the below would be designated "Big C" culture, and which "Little c"? Why? Which items might be debatable as to their designation? Why?

  • Ernest Hemingway
  • "Citizen Kane"
  • a MacDonald's menu
  • Leonard Bernstein
  • a business card
  • Madonna
  • Betsy Ross' flag
  • The Great Gatsby
  • iPods
  • baseball
  • The Great Depression
  • a bus ticket
  • a Coke can
  • The White House