Course Schedule


Week 1: History of Consumer Society I

1/29:    No readings – introductions

1/31:    Leiss et al., Social Communication in Advertising,  Ch. 1: “Introduction”

SCA Ch. 2: “From Traditional to Industrial Society”


Week 2: History of Consumer Society II

2/5:      Schudson, “Historical Roots of Consumer Culture”

SCA Ch. 3: “Advertising in the Transition from Industrial to Consumer Society”

2/7:      SCA Ch. 9: “Late Modern Consumer Society”

SCA Ch. 8: “Consumer Cultures and Mediated Markets”


Week 3: Advertising & Media

2/12:    SCA Ch. 4: “Advertising and the Development of Communications Media”

SCA Ch. 10: “Media in the Mediated Marketplace”

2/14:    Andrejevic, “Productive Play 2.0: The Logic of In-Game Advertising

Manzerolle & Smeltzer, “Consumer Databases and the Commercial Mediation of Identity”


Week 4: Ads as Cultural Texts

2/19:    SCA Ch. 6: “The Structure of Advertisements”

SCA Ch. 14: “Negotiated Messaging for Generation X”

2/21:    Barthes, “The Rhetoric of the Image”

Goldman & Papson, “Advertising in the Age of Accelerated Meaning”


Week 5: Ads as Cultural Criticism

2/26:    SCA Ch. 13: “The Mobilization of the Yuppies and Generation X”

Naomi Klein, “Alt.Everything: The Youth Market and the Marketing of Cool”

2/28:    Frank, “Advertising as Cultural Criticism”

Frank, “Why Johnny Can’t Dissent”


Week 6: Institutions of Advertising

3/5:      SCA Ch. 5: “Advertising and the Development of Agencies”

SCA Ch. 11: “Full Service Agencies”

3/7:      Screening: Art & Copy

First two short analyses must be posted by this day


Week 7: Exam week

3/12:    Catch up on any readings you’ve missed

3/14:    Exam 1


Spring Recess 3/18-3/24



Week 8: Commodities and Communication

3/26:    SCA Ch. 7: “Goods as Communicators and Satisfiers”

García Canclini, “Consumption is Good for Thinking”

3/28:    Marx, “The Fetishism of Commodities”

Veblen, “Conspicuous Consumption”


Week 9: Consumption and Status

4/2:      Bourdieu, Introduction to Distinction

SCA Ch. 15: “Mobilizing the Culturati”

4/4:      Littler, “Cosmopolitan Caring: Globalization, Charity and the Activist Consumer”

Banet-Weiser & Lapsansky, “RED is the New Black”


Week 10: Representing Gender in Advertising

4/9:      Messner & Montez de Oca, “The Male Consumer as Loser”

Bordo, “Hunger as Ideology

4/11:    Readings TBA

Third short analysis must be posted by this day


Week 11: Cultural Appropriation

4/16:    Goldman, Heath, & Smith, “Commodity Feminism”

Johnston & Taylor, “Feminist Consumerism and Fat Activists”

4/18:    McClintock, “Soft-Soaping Empire: Commodity Racism and Imperial Advertising”

hooks, “Eating the Other”

Campaign analysis proposal due


Week 12: Niche Markets

4/23:    Arlene Dávila, excerpts from Latinos, Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People
Turow, “Mapping A Fractured Society”

4/25:    Larry Gross, “A Niche of Our Own”

Katherine Sender, “Selling Sexual Subjectivities”


Week 13: Critiquing Campaigns

4/30:    Manlow, “Creating an American Mythology: A Comparison of Branding Strategies in Three Fashion Firms”
Other readings TBD

5/2:      Campaign analysis due


Week 14: Subvertising/Culture Jamming

5/7:      Lasn, “Culture Jamming”

Carducci, “Culture Jamming: A Sociological Perspective”

5/9:      Wrap-up, Final assignment distributed


5/15:    Final due via email by 8am