Pekka Kolehmainen profile picture


Areas of expertise

rock music studies
popular culture studies
U.S. cultural history
American studies
U.S. conservatism
Culture Wars in the United States


I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural History with one leg in Popular Culture Studies and the other in North American Studies. My interest lies in the cultural processes of Reagan-era United States, the cultural history of U.S. conservatism, rock music studies, and more recently the study of social media and political discourses. My overarching interest concerns the way that popular culture serves a political function by helping individuals position themselves culturally through shared likes and dislikes. 


My teaching currently revolves around teaching the methodologies and theories of studying popular culture through cultural historical framework. I have also taught a course on U.S. history through the theme of "culture wars." 


My research explores the use of rock as an idea in U.S. political media and public discussions during the 1980s and 1990s and the ways in which it was linked to critique and debate around contemporary culture. I employ the framework of culture wars to look at how rock operated as a target for culture war, as a terrain in which a certain sense of "Americanness" could be ascertained, and as a tool in the larger debate around "Americanness" at large. I argue that through discussing rock music, writers engaged by proxy in defining their understanding of "Americanness"; i.e. those values and sentiments they considered key in creating an "American" identity.


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