This course surveys the cultural and social impact of markets, and how Americans have consumed goods and services both in the past and the present. We’ll examine, among other topics, the historic tensions and conflicts between societies defined by the production of goods and services and those organized around consumption; the relationship between consumer practices and the condition of laborers; the impact that consumption has on the environment and different ecologies; how consumerism has empowered, exploited, and governed ideas about race, gender, and sexuality; how consumption has changed with the development of the advertising industry and online shopping; and, the politics and economics of debt. This class will model an interdisciplinary approach to the study of consumption, and the cultural practices that has emerged around purchasing things.
This course qualifies for the Certificate in Curation and Cultural Programming. Additional information on the certificate can be found at: https://amerstudies.rutgers.edu/academics/undergraduate/certificates.