HISTART 689-008

Special Topics: French Society and Culture

Tu 1:00pm - 4:00pm
3 Credit Seminar

Cross-listed with FRENCH 630 (home department) and MEMS 611

This seminar approaches early consumer societies from the vantage point of objects variously consumed, gifted, and displayed in public and private spaces, such as hats, gloves, shoes, farthingales, snuff boxes, chocolate cups, telescopes, guitars, and portraits. It is structured in two parts: the first one is composed of theoretical readings on material culture; the second, on practical examples drawn from the domains of literature and the visual arts. We will not only examine how objects and their uses were captured in fictional forms, but also how the act of representation itself helped shape novel forms of consumption and even new ways of imagining them. Students will choose an object to study early in the semester, present on it, and workshop material about it throughout the semester with the aim of producing a cohesive final essay. The seminar lends itself well to those working on modern objects.