The Social History of Consumption
Office: Trotter 206
Office hours: Monday 10-12, 2-4 ; Wednesday 3-5; Friday 2-4 or by appointment.
Office phone: 328-8115
Home phone: 544-2504
Books for purchase:
Lisa Jardine, Worldly Goods.
Richard Klein, Cigarettes Are Sublime
Juliet Schor, The Overspent American.
James Twitchell, Lead Us Into Temptation.
Susan Strasser, ed, Getting and Spending: American and European Consumer Society in the Twentieth Century.
Gary Cross, An All-Consuming Century.
Carolyn Wyman, Spam: A Biography.
Stephen Nissenbaum, The Battle for Christmas.
Stewart Lee Allen, The Devil's Cup: Coffee, The Driving Force in History.
John Freyer, All My Life For Sale
Note: Allen, The Devils Cup and Freyer , All My Life For Sale, will not be available at the start of the semester. I will tell you when they come into the bookstore
There will be four assignments due during the semester, with the final paper being the most important:
2 2-3 page discussion papers
A consumption diary and commentary on diaries, 2-3 pp.
Biography of a commodity, 12-15 pp
Though this is a large class, I still expect everyone to engage in regular
discussion. Attendance and participation are a vitally important part of your
final grade. You cannot do well in this course if you miss class repeatedly.
Readings marked with an asterix will either be distributed in class or available on Blackboards e-reserves. (Ill let you know which is the case for each reading.)
Thursday January 23
CONSUMPTION AND SOCIETY: THREE HISTORICAL SNAPSHOTS
Early Modern Europe: Transitions Reconsidered
Tues. January 28
Lisa Jardine, Worldly Goods , Chapters One and Two
Thursday January 30
Lisa Jardine, Worldly Goods , Chapter Six and Eight
Tuesday February 4
*Jan de Vries, Between Purchasing Power and the World of Goods
*Joyce Appleby, Consumption in Early Modern Social Thought
*Lorna Weatherill, The Meaning of Consumer Behavior
*TH Breen, The Meaning of Things: Interpreting the Consumer Economy of the Eighteenth Century
You will be assigned ONE of these four essays to read. You will be responsible for explaining its basic argument and methodology to other students in small groups.
Consumption and the Making of Modern American and European Society
Thursday February 6
Stephen Nissenbaum, The Battle For Christmas, Chapter One and Two
Tuesday February 11
Stephen Nissenbaum, The Battle for Christmas, Chapter Four, Five and Epilogue
Thursday February 13
Charles McGovern, Consumption and Citizenship in the United States, in Strasser, ed., Getting and Spending
Lizabeth Cohen, The New Deal State and the Making of Citizen Consumers, in Strasser, ed., Getting and Spending
FIRST PAPER DUE
Tuesday February 18
Victoria de Grazia, Changing Consumption Regimes in Europe, 1930-1970, in Strasser, ed., Getting and Spending
Daniel Horowitz, The Émigré as Celebrant of American Consumer Culture, in Strasser, ed., Getting and Spending
TOPICS FOR FINAL PAPER DUE
Thursday February 20
Kurt Moser, World War I and the Creation of Desire for Automobiles in Germany, in Strasser, ed., Getting and Spending
Susan Strasser, The Convenience Is Out of this World, in Strasser, ed., Getting and Spending
Tuesday February 25
Stephen Kline, Toys, Socialization and the Commodification of Play, in Strasser, ed., Getting and Spending
Fath Davis Ruffins, Reflecting on Ethnic Imagery, in Strasser, ed., Getting and Spending
DEMONSTRATION OF RESEARCH STRATEGIES FOR FINAL PAPER
Thursday February 27
*Elaine Abelson, When Ladies Go A-Thieving
*James Leach, Landscape of Desire
Globalization and the developing world
Tuesday March 4
*Timothy Burke, Lifebuoy Men, Lux Women, Chapter Six
Thursday March 6
*Richard Wilk, Learning to Be Local in Belize
*Benjamin Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld
*Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree
Over break, read Igor Kopytoff, "The Cultural Biography of Things",
in Appadurai, ed., The Social Life of Things
Tuesday March 18
Spam: A Biography , all
Librarian visit: discussion of final paper and research strategies.
Thursday March 20
*Jane Schneider, Rumpelstiltskins Bargain, in Jane Schneider, ed., Cloth and Human Experience
Consumption diaries due.
Tuesday March 25
*Misty Bastian, Female Alhajis and Entrepreneurial Fashions, in Hendrickson, ed., Clothing and Difference
Distribution of consumption diaries.
Thursday March 27
Consumption diaries: discussion and review.
Tuesday April 1
Richard Klein, Cigarettes Are Sublime, Introduction, Chapters One through Three and Chapter Six
Thursday April 3
*MG Lord, Forever Barbie, selection
*Erica Rand, Barbies Queer Accessories , Chapter Three
Barbie Liberation Organization video (in class)
DIARIES PAPER DUE
V. Sugar and Coffee
Tuesday April 8
*Sidney Mintz, Sweetness and Power
Thursday April 10
NO CLASS (Work on reading The Devils Cup and All-Consuming Century)
Tuesday April 15
Stewart Lee Allen, The Devils Cup
Thursday April 17
Gary Cross, All-Consuming Century, Chapter 4-7
Tuesday April 22
Juliet Schor, The Overspent American, Chapter 2-3
Thursday April 24
Juliet Schor, The Overspent American, Chapter 4-6
Tuesday April 28
James Twitchell, Lead Us Into Temptation, Chapter 1, 3, 6-8
Thursday May 1
John Freyer, All My Life For Sale
SECOND DISCUSSION PAPER DUE
FINAL PAPER DUE by 4 pm on May 12.