PLVS
4018

The Stuff of 20th-Century American Popular Culture

Parsons School of Design: Art and Design History

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Degree Students
20th C. American Pop Culture
Spring 2023
Taught By: Marilyn Cohen
Section: A

CRN: 2856

Credits: 3

Salt and pepper shakers, souvenir snow globes, cake toppers, and fast-food give-away toys, have a lot to say about the United States. This course examines 20th-century American popular culture, visual and material, to understand how it reinforces socio-political ideologies related to race, gender, ethnicity, indigeneity, sexuality, ableism, class, and nationalism. We look at such topics as Disney, Barbie dolls, cars, TV, cowboys, and plastics, among others, exploring common and stereotypical concepts such as “The American Dream” in connection to democracy, capitalism, and patriarchy. We revisit the debate between high and low art and matters of taste and kitsch. Drawing on cultural studies, students have weekly reading assignments and are expected to participate actively in discussions that connect the readings to images viewed in class. Students make presentations and write short papers on subjects of their own choosing. Our goal is to understand the significance of the popular objects, events, and technologies of everyday life in the 20th century—and how they continue to play out the ‘values’ of the United States at home and abroad.

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: Art and Design History (PLAD)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 20

Add/Drop Deadline: February 5, 2023 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2023 (Sunday)

Seats Available: No

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: 12:48am EST 1/30/2023

Meeting Info:
Days: Monday
Times: 12:10pm - 2:50pm
Building: Parsons 2 W 13th
Room: 502
Date Range: 1/23/2023 - 5/15/2023