Spring 2005

ARTS 634 (AMST; WMST)
Post-War/Postmodern: American Design from Retro to Neo-Retro

McCombie,Mel

01/26/2005 - 05/04/2005
Wednesday 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM

Davison Art Center 300

Exploring design in postwar America, we examine how the templates for design developed during that period echo today in postmodern design and in contemporary culture. Drawing on sociology, material culture, cultural studies, and feminist theory, as well as on architectural, design, and business history, we will attempt to frame the domestic culture of postwar America and understand its continued resonance. Topics include suburbia and Levittowns; the single-family house and the re-feminization of the home; the social construction of the kitchen and the Kitchen Debate; plastics and Tupperware as a social instrument of female community; automotive design, marketing, and gender; packaging design and convenience foods; the invention of fast food; Las Vegas, from Rat Pack to theme park; Disneyland and its children; and Neo-Retro design (such as the Ford Thunderbird, Audi TT, BMW Mini, and

everything in Restoration Hardware).

Readings will be drawn from these and other sources: Ellen Lupton, MECHANICAL BRIDES: WOMEN AND MACHINES FROM HOME TO OFFICE; Thomas Hine, POPULUXE; David Gartman, AUTO OPIUM: A SOCIAL HISTORY OF AMERICAN AUTOMOBILE DESIGN; Beatriz Colomina, ed, SEXUALITY AND SPACE.

Students will be responsible for the assigned readings, participation in class discussions, class presentations, two short papers (4-6 pages) and one final paper or project.


Mel McCombie (B.A. Bryn Mawr College; M.A. Stanford University; Ph.D. University of Texas, Austin) is visiting assistant professor at Trinity College. Her recent publications include "Art Appreciation at Caesar's Palace, in "Cultural Production and Consumption: Readings in Popular Culture," edited by Lee Harrington (Blackwell, 2000).


ENROLLMENT INFORMATION

Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
David Gartman, AUTO OPIUM (Routledge), Paperback

Thomas Hine, POPULUXE (Knopf), Paperback

Ellen Lupton, MECHANICAL BRIDES (Princeton Architectural Press), Paperback

Annabel Wharton, BUILDING THE COLD WAR (University of Chicago Press), Paperback

OPTIONAL TEXTS:

Jeffrey Miekle, AMERICAN PLASTIC (Rutgers University Press), Paperback

Chiuhua Judy Chung, THE HARVARD DESIGN SCHOOL GUIDE TO SHOPPING (Taschen), Paperback

READING MATERIALS AVAILABLE AT BROAD STREET BOOKS, 45 BROAD STREET, MIDDLETOWN, 860-685-7323

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