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Course Description

This course explores how the things we buy shape our personal identities and how individuals relate to corporations and advertisers, in the context of the emergence of modern consumer society from the 18th century to the present. It critically examines the shift from home-production economies to mass production. Examining how developments such as department stores, product branding, modern advertising, urbanization, and suburbanization have shaped society, politics, and the economy, the course provides a historical context for contemporary debates about consumer culture.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  • Appreciate the value of an historical approach when analyzing consumer culture and consumer issues;
  • Critically analyze the origins and evolution of consumer culture in North America and to effectively explain these ideas in a written format, identifying and defining key issues;
  • Develop their own interpretations about issues in consumer culture based on ability to summarize and compare a broad range of readings and evidence from both primary and secondary sources;
  • Distinguish and compare the spatially and temporally specific ways consumer culture has both influenced and been influenced by a range of social, cultural, political, and economic developments;
  • Discuss consumer culture as an interplay between manufacturers, advertisers, sales people, and consumers, wherein individuals from each of these groups have occupied historically specific identities as a result of their relationships with consumption.

Course Topics

  • Consumer Behaviours in Colonial Contexts
  • Mass Production and the Emergence of Modern Commercial Spaces
  • Consumer Activism During the First Half of the 20th Century
  • A Postwar Consumers’ Paradise?
  • Consumer Culture Since the late-Cold War

Additional Requirements

Prerequisite(s): 2.00 credits

Assessment

Assignments

Weight %

Introduction Discussions

2.5

Course "Scavenger Hunt"

2.5

Discussion Assignments (2)

20

Short Essays (2)

25

"Canadians and their Catalogues" Primary Source Research

20

Take-Home Final Exam

30

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.

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Section Title
Buying and Selling: Consumer Cultures
Type
Online
Dates
September 10, 2020 to December 04, 2020
Contact Hours
36.0
Delivery Options
Online  
Course Fee(s)
Domestic Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $683.39 Click here to get more information
International Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $2,748.00 Click here to get more information
Available for Credit
0.5 units
Section Notes

Note:  If you are in a degree program at the University of Guelph, please DO NOT register using the link above.  You must register through WebAdvisor.

Section Materials
  • Textbook (Unconfirmed) (Mandatory) Retail Nation: Department Stores and the Making of Modern Canada (Monograph) by Belisle, Donica UBC Press, 2012 ISBN 9780774819480
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