This Week: Humanism in Pop Culture

Stories help people tell each other who we are and what we value. Recently, pop culture has seen a resurgence in epic and mythological storytelling, whether it be about super-powered heroes, alien invasions, or the ancient clashes between forces of good and evil. These stories explore archetypical themes- what Joseph Campbell called “the Hero’s Journey”- but can also be interpreted as nuanced portraits of humanity’s technological and socio-political aspirations. Some argue that pop culture is recycling the same old material in new, flashy packaging, while others claim that these stories are universal and that we are in a golden age of storytelling. We’ll explore Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel, and more!

What do stories in pop culture tell us about what we value as a society? Is pop culture stagnating or is it more creative than ever before? What are some Humanism-related cultural products, and what do they tell us about ourselves?