AMS 370 • Immigrants, Amusements, & Consumer Culture
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
The spread and growth of consumer capitalism has coincided with the migration and integration of immigrants into American society. As immigrant lives became transformed by commercial culture, they also actively sustained it. This course will examine the rise of consumer culture in American society and trace its developments and current manifestations as a global force in the world. We will investigate the roles immigrants played in the making and re-making of commercial culture. We will attempt to answer questions such as: What do Americans do when they are not working? How do immigrants engage with and partake in America's entertainment and leisure industries? How do people construct identity around consumption and material accumulation? Exploring various sites of consumer culture such as the early nickelodeons, movies, amusement and national parks, and more contemporary consumer activities such as karaoke, cyberspace, video gaming, and shopping, we will consider how consumer culture and participation in leisure defines American life.
Possible Texts Andrew Heintz, Adapting to Abundance Elizabeth Pleck, Celebrating the Family Elizabeth Chin, Purchasing Power Lizbeth Cohen, A Consumer's Republic Arlene Davila, Latinos, Inc. Course Reader