Honors | Advertising and American Culture
H204 | 0014 | Miller, L.
Brown County Room
As a seminar, the course will stress the diverse intellectual interests
and training of its teacher and its students and will emphatically
encourage an open exchange of ideas and responses.
We will approach advertising as both a business and an art form, and as a
rich index to past and present American cultural tastes, gender
stereotypes, public ideologies, and private fantasies.
We will establish a historical perspective by viewing a number of print
ads from early in the century, and by reading texts which provide major
statements about American culture and the evolution of our
We will also view contemporary ads and commercials with an eye toward what
they tell us about our individual values and identities, as well as what
advertising reveals about consumer behavior within a highly organized and
aggressive marketing environment. Ultimately, we will work toward becoming
more sensitive, responsible, and informed readers and observers of
advertising, and of the cultural traditions which are reflected, defined,
and often defied by the ads and commercials which pervade our verbal and
Throughout the semester you will be asked to write (inside and outside of
class) several short (two pages) response to a variety of ads and
commercials, and to your reading. Some of these written assignments will
serve as the texts for brief oral reports which will be assigned
In addition, you will be asked to complete a group project which will
include developing the "creative" portion of an advertising campaign,
accompanied by a rationale and a critique. We will ask each group to
present the kernel of these projects to the class. (More specific
guidelines will be forthcoming.)
You will be graded on your total performance, written and oral, in the
class, and on your continued improvement. Regular attendance and class
participation are essential. Spotty attendance will be frowned upon and
reflected in your course grade.