Fictions of Consumption
Fall 2010 not offered
What is consumer culture and what does it have to do with literature and other forms of cultural production? This course is an introduction to the rise of consumer culture and to representations of that phenomenon in Europe and the United States from about 1850 to 1950. Our main areas of inquiry throughout the semester will be the principles of display and forms of visuality that characterize consumer culture; the gendered construction of the consumer; and the commodification of racial and ethnic identities.
because students must engage critically with a range of written and visual texts, from a variety of disciplines
|Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture / Discussion
|Grading Mode: Graded
|Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (FGSS)
Our fictions include literary, theoretical, historical, sociological, and cinematic texts by authors including Edith Wharton, Oscar Wilde, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Henry Mayhew, and King Vidor. We are studying films (THE CROWD, EASTER PARADE) both because Hollywood movies have been a significant forum for the display of clothing and other commodities and to investigate what film spectatorship has in common with the sort of visual experience first promoted by the department store.
|Examinations and Assignments:
Two 5-page papers, one 8-10-page paper, and weekly short response papers.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments:
This course meets the English Department's Theory requirement for the major.
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