Collins Living Learning Center | Taste: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
L210 | 31539 | Maureen Hattrup


What do we mean when we say someone has “good taste” in music, in fashion, in film?  What
qualities in objects (or people) make them tasteful?  This course will seek to answer these
questions by introducing students to theories of “taste culture,” to how we as a society
assign value to cultural artifacts.  In order to accomplish this aim, students will learn the
history of “taste,” as well as tackle a wide range of scholarly and popular sources that attempt
to explain what makes for “good” or “bad” taste, from influential theorist Pierre Bourdieu to
popular fashion blogs like GoFugYourself.com.  To discover how the rhetoric of taste moves
across many disciplines and media, we will study films such as Inglourious Basterds,
television shows like American Idol, magazines, and more.  At the same time that we look at
these national examples of the rhetoric of taste, we will also examine how taste works locally
through a class trip to the IU Museum of Art and a class viewing of the Academy Awards.