A Cultural History of Advertising in Twentieth-Century America

Parsons School of Design: Sch. Art and Dsgn Hist and Th

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Degree Students (with Restrictions)
Advertising Consumerism
Fall 2023
Taught By: Marilyn Cohen
Section: A

CRN: 2549

Credits: 3

This course examines advertising as a tool of consumer culture in America in the twentieth century. Trade cards from the late nineteenth-century, print advertisements in magazines in the early part of the twentieth century, and the evolution of radio and television as media for advertising in the mid-century are the means to understand the perpetuation of cultural myths related to gender, ethnicity, class and race in the United States. The course will begin with the growth in tandem of national industry and advertising. We analyze the idea of the United States as a ‘democracy of goods’ looking at advertising as propaganda in relation to the World Wars and as mediating and selling the ‘American Dream’ before and after World War II. The focus, in particular, is on advertising in relation to material culture; we ask how ads construct the meanings that surround objects. Students will spend time decoding visual advertisements and make parallels to how advertising functions today as in the past to reinforce cultural ideologies. Essays in cultural studies, popular and material culture, literature and film are the basis for understanding the significance of advertising. This is very much a discussion-based class with presentations and papers as final projects. Pathway: Design Studies

Open to: All university undergraduate degree students. Pre-requisite(s): first-year university writing course and at least two prior history or methods course in art, media, film, or visual culture. One of these courses should be 3000-level.

College: Parsons School of Design (PS)

Department: Sch. Art and Dsgn Hist and Th (ADHT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 20

Add/Drop Deadline: September 11, 2023 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 19, 2023 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 11:46am EST 12/4/2023

Meeting Info:
Days: Thursday
Times: 12:10pm - 2:50pm
Building: 6 East 16th Street
Room: 611
Date Range: 8/31/2023 - 12/14/2023