Time Courses

American Studies 101 The Art of Advertising: Consumption and Culture in Postwar America

  • day and time MTW 12-2:30
  • location REMOTE INSTRUCTION
  • instructor Alex Craghead
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 14997

SUMMER SESSION D

NOTE: Lectures will be a combination of synchronous/recorded and asynchronous/recorded. Any student can be accommodated.

This course examines American society in the postwar period. From the late 1940s through to the early 1970s, economic growth and new technologies fostered a new, mediated, consumerist landscape, one built around advertising. We will look at many forms of pervasive, postwar advertisement–from magazines to billboards, from television commercials to Hollywood films, from graphic design to publicity stunts–and we will give them attention as important if not dominating forms of popular art and culture. In addition to discussing the way advertisements both reflected and constructed American society at mid-century, students will learn a number of approaches to “reading” and decoding advertising images, as well as the broader connections between visual culture and history.

American Studies 101 AC P.T. Barnum and Other Scams

  • day and time MTW 12-2:30
  • location REMOTE INSTRUCTION
  • instructor S. Gold McBride
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 14996

SUMMER SESSION A

NOTE: All lecture content will be asynchronous. Class meetings (which will focus on discussion and work with sources) will be held live on Wednesdays 12-2:30 pm.

THIS COURSE SIMULTANEOUSLY SATISFIES THE AMERICAN STUDIES TIME AND PRE-1900 REQUIREMENTS.

This course satisfies the American Cultures requirement.

What can we learn about American culture by studying its scams? In this class, we will closely examine the scammers, grifters, tricksters, and con artists that began to terrify urban Americans in the nineteenth century. As the United States grew more urban, more industrialized, and more structured around capitalism and consumerism, interactions with strangers became a part of daily life for the first time in the nation’s history. From the confidence men who haunted American cities to the “humbug” peddled by showmen like P.T. Barnum, deception seemed to lurk around every corner, and many Americans felt increasingly anxious about their ability—or inability—to tell truth from fiction. Our examination of American scams will focus especially on the middle decades of the nineteenth century (1830–1870), an era during which the nation’s population tripled, Barnum opened his American Museum in New York City, and Herman Melville published his final novel, The Confidence-Man. As we grapple with questions about popular culture, spectacle, consumption, the media, art, violence, race, and the body, we will also consider the resonance and residue of nineteenth-century scamming in our contemporary world.

Pre-1900 Historical Requirement

American Studies 101 AC P.T. Barnum and Other Scams

  • day and time MTW 12-2:30
  • location REMOTE INSTRUCTION
  • instructor S. Gold McBride
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 14996

SUMMER SESSION A

NOTE: All lecture content will be asynchronous. Class meetings (which will focus on discussion and work with sources) will be held live on Wednesdays 12-2:30 pm.

THIS COURSE SIMULTANEOUSLY SATISFIES THE AMERICAN STUDIES TIME AND PRE-1900 REQUIREMENTS.

This course satisfies the American Cultures requirement.

What can we learn about American culture by studying its scams? In this class, we will closely examine the scammers, grifters, tricksters, and con artists that began to terrify urban Americans in the nineteenth century. As the United States grew more urban, more industrialized, and more structured around capitalism and consumerism, interactions with strangers became a part of daily life for the first time in the nation’s history. From the confidence men who haunted American cities to the “humbug” peddled by showmen like P.T. Barnum, deception seemed to lurk around every corner, and many Americans felt increasingly anxious about their ability—or inability—to tell truth from fiction. Our examination of American scams will focus especially on the middle decades of the nineteenth century (1830–1870), an era during which the nation’s population tripled, Barnum opened his American Museum in New York City, and Herman Melville published his final novel, The Confidence-Man. As we grapple with questions about popular culture, spectacle, consumption, the media, art, violence, race, and the body, we will also consider the resonance and residue of nineteenth-century scamming in our contemporary world.