Buying and Selling: Consumer Cultures (HIST*2220) | College of Arts

Buying and Selling: Consumer Cultures (HIST*2220)

Code and section: HIST*2220*DE

Term: Summer 2017

Instructor: Sarah Shropshire


Course Synopsis:

This course explores the emergence of modern consumer society in North America from the 16th century through to the present. Acknowledging both critiques and positive aspects, the course traces the shift from home-production economies to local markets to mass retail and conspicuous consumption.  How can the things we buy shape our personal identities?  Why and how do individuals stand up to mass retailers and advertisers?  By examining how developments such as department stores, mass-produced goods, product branding, modern advertising, urbanization, and suburbanization have shaped society, politics, and the economy, the course provides a historical context for contemporary debates about consumer culture.

Methods of Evaluation and Weights:

Introductory Discussion and Course “Scavenger Hunt” 5%
Online Discussion Assignments 20% (2x10%)
Short Essays 25% (2x12.5%)
“Canadians and their Catalogues”: Primary Source Research 20%
Take-Home Final Exam 30%

Texts and/or Resources Required:

The majority of course readings are scholarly articles and/or book chapters available through the University of Guelph Library eReserve system.

There is no required textbook for the course, per se, but students are required to purchase a copy of the following monograph:
Belisle, Donica. Retail Nation: Department Stores and the Making of Modern
(Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012).

*Please note: This is a preliminary web course description only. The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description. The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.