Time Courses

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

  • day and time MTW 1-4
  • location SOCS 170
  • instructor Alex Craghead
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 13312


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.