American Consumer Culture OpenCourseWare: A Free Undergraduate Course on the U.S. Culture of Consumerism by MIT

Published Feb 20, 2009

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'American Consumer Culture' explores the history and major contributing factors of consumerism in the U.S. The OpenCourseWare from MIT was originally part of an undergraduate history program.

American Consumer Culture: Course Specifics

Degree Level Free Audio Video Downloads
Undergraduate Yes No No Yes

Lectures/Notes Study Materials Tests/Quizzes
No Yes No

American Consumer Culture: Course Description

Over the course of the 20th century and especially in recent decades, Americans have become subscribers to a mentality of consumption and personal pleasure known as consumerism. This course, from MIT's History department, explores the impact of a consumer culture in the U.S.

The course examines how being able to shop at a department store, cars rolling off the assembly line and living in the suburbs changed life, socially, economically and politically, in the U.S. The course starts at the beginning of the 20th century and uses Dreiser's Sister Carrie as a reference.

It continues on to the period between the first and second world wars. Students are required to read Lewis' Babbitt. The last two sections of the course are the postwar era and the dawning of the 21st century, where the course examines McDonalds and e-bay.

'American Consumer Culture' consists of assignment descriptions and a reading list, including online material, archived syllabi and past students' journals. To access this free online course, visit the history of consumer culture course page.

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