Barbara Ching is Chair of the Department of English at Iowa State University. She holds a Masters in Comparative Literature from New York University, and received her B.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University.
Her research explores the ways in which the distinctions between high and popular culture have been created, expressed, disputed, and changed. She is especially interested in the ways people recognize and express their own cultural tastes. We list our favorite songs, books, and movie to tell about who we are and to connect with others. How and why do we make meaning this way? She explored these questions in her book, Wrong’s What I Do Best: Hard Country Music and Contemporary Culture (Oxford University Press, 2001) and in many articles. Her interest in Susan Sontag grows out of one of this major critic’s chief interests: the way mass media transformed European high culture, making movies and other easily-accessed texts and images important sources of meaning for millions of people.
The College Campus as World Exterior: Creating a Critical Distance from the Country and the City