American Studies | AMST in Transnational Contexts: Consumption, Media, Self
A351 | 11903 | Lepselter
How do our habits of consumption become stories about who we are?
This class will explore the politics and poetics of consumption as
mediated cultural experiences. We will be studying representations
of consumption as symbolic expressions of identity, looking at how
they help shape and express the ways that we understand gender, race,
class, embodiment and value. We will look at how practices such as
shopping, trading and eating come to seem normal or disordered, how
stories about these practices change over time and how they vary in
different social worlds. This is an interdisciplinary class that
makes use of perspectives from anthropology, literature, history and
We will study many mediated stories of consumption from both an
American and a global perspective. Topics to be covered include:
hoarding, makeover shows, global beauty pageants, Victorian eating
disorders, and the social life of commodities around the world.