Archived Versions

21H.206 American Consumer Culture

As taught in: Fall 2007

Black and white photo of a card dealership.

Automobiles in window of the Washington-Cadillac Co., Washington, D.C. (Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection, [reproduction number LC-USZ62-111329 DLC].)




Prof. Meg Jacobs

Course Features

Course Highlights

Course Description

This class examines how and why twentieth-century Americans came to define the "good life" through consumption, leisure, and material abundance. We will explore how such things as department stores, nationally advertised brand-name goods, mass-produced cars, and suburbs transformed the American economy, society, and politics. The course is organized both thematically and chronologically. Each period deals with a new development in the history of consumer culture. Throughout we explore both celebrations and critiques of mass consumption and abundance.

*Some translations represent previous versions of courses.