HIS-1101 FYS: Truthiness 101: A Brief History of Consumer Culture

3 credits

Prerequisite: Open to first-year students only.

"Truthiness" is a term that television comedian Stephen Colbert popularized in 2005. He used it to describe things that a person claims to know intuitively or "from the gut" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or actual facts. The overarching goals of this class is to explore some of the "truthiness" of the economic world we inhabit. How did buying, selling, shopping, and advertising become such integral elements of 18th- and 19th-century European life? What effects did the proliferation of consumer culture have on social relationships and identity? How did intellectuals strive to make sense of the changes they saw around them? What lessons, if any, can we take from this history for understanding our own situation? This is a first-year seminar course and meets the First-Year Seminar requirement of the GECC.