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Saturday Seminar:

"New Era Capitalism" and the Consumer Ethos

Led by
Dr. Stephanie Yuhl, College of the Holy Cross

Saturday, March 3, 2007
8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Assumption College

Someone once said, "He who dies with the most toys, wins." And surely, one of the most profound shapers of American culture has been the impulse to consume material goods. But this consumer ethos has not been a static entity. Rather, from the late nineteeth to the mid-twentieth century, consumerism (including leisure practices) evolved, matured and "consumed" America society. In this seminar, we will act as critical cultural historians and examine this compelling change over time. We will discuss what consumerism might tell us about our nation's past (and the politics of class, race, gender, public/private, nationalism and ethnicity) and also how consumerism might be a useful teaching topic for today's consumer-oriented students. We will chart briefly the rise of the new industrial order of the period, and then focus our attention on the system's promoters (capitalists/advertisers) and its consuming public (middle-classes and workers). We spend significant time analyzing primary visual and textual sources (such as advertisements, film and wartime propaganda) as well as scholarly interpretations of the pervasive and not-to-be-overlooked phenomenon of consumerism.

Each seminar is worth 5 PDPs, and you are expected to attend the entire event. You do not have to be enrolled in the fall Teaching American History (TAH) course to be eligible to register for the Saturday seminars, but you must be a teacher in the Worcester, Millbury, or Sutton public school districts. Some pre-reading may be required. Space is limited.


Registration Deadline: February 23

To register, please contact Amy Sopcak at (508) 471-2129 or asopcak[at] Preference will be given to teachers from the Worcester, Millbury, and Sutton school districts, but teachers from other districts who are interested are encouraged to contact Amy to be placed on a waiting list.


TAH Courses, Saturday Seminars, and Summer Institutes, 2006-2008



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Last updated January 29, 2007

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