Honors | Price of Prosperity (LAMP)
L216 | 17859 | Eric Metzler

By the dawn of the twenty-first century, capitalist/consumerist
business structures, which glorify efficiency, standardization, and
profits, have come to constitute our reality to the extent that we
hardly even notice them.  Everywhere and all the time we see, hear,
and consume by means of these structures without a backward glance at
their many costs.  Our goal in this interdisciplinary seminar will be
to reflect on the way America does business from a critical
perspective.  Using texts from disciplines as diverse as sociology,
political science, cultural studies, history, literary studies, film
studies, and theater and drama, we will survey the historical
background of the American desire for wealth and then study the fast-
food industry as an exemplar of the business structures we wish to
critique.  We will then consider some alternatives to
capitalism/consumerism and end the course with some dramatic texts
that critique the capitalist/consumerist model.  The seminar is
conducted without examinations, but students can expect to write
copiously.  The final creative project, undertaken collaboratively,
will ask students to pull together various aspects of the course in
order to propose and present a viable business that eschews some of
the worst excesses of the capitalist/consumerist business model.