"The American Consumer, 1880-Present" - Research Seminar
- Rebecca Katherine Marchiel
- University Hall 118 - MoWe 12:30PM - 1:50PM
- Americans have a complex relationship with consumption, lamenting its impact on civic life on one hand while enjoying its effects in the forms of Ipods, cars, and suburban homes on the other. This course will take a long historical view to examine this relationship, assessing the impact of consumption on American politics and society from the late nineteenth century to the present. We will explore "conspicuous consumption" of the Gilded Age, anti-chain store activism during the New Deal era, and the rise of mass consumption. We will examine twentieth-century social movements, including the black freedom struggle, the women's movement, and gay liberation, with attention to their use of consumerist rhetoric and tools such as boycotts and buycotts. Throughout the course, we will consider whether consumerism has had a depoliticizing effect, transforming engaged citizens into passive purchasers, or whether the consumer marketplace has created a new kind of politics by animating social movements, disrupting power relations in the public and private spheres, and delivering the good life on an unprecedented scale.
- Students should enroll in either 392 or395 depending upon which evaluation criteria should apply.
For the 392: Blackboard assignments, class participation, two short papers, final paper.
For the 395: Blackboard assignments, class participation, one short paper, short research proposal, 15-25-page final paper based on original research.
- Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America (Vintage, 2003, ISBN 978-0375707377)
Lawrence Glickman, Consumer Society in American History: A Reader (Cornell University Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0801484865)
Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie (Signet Classics, 2009, ISBN 978-0451531148)
- AREA OF CONCENTRATION: Americas
No P/N option (ANC grading only).
Attendance at first class is mandatory (applicable to enrolled, waitlisted and all potential students).
No freshman enrollment in 395.
- Attendance at 1st class mandatory
No P/N option for this section
- Enrollment Requirements: Freshmen may not register for this course.
Overview of class
Class Materials (Required)
Current as of 05/06/13 11:33:24 AM