Facebook. Fast food. The TV show Friends. The consumable objects and activities that make up what we call popular culture or consumer culture circle the globe millions of times every day. In the process, they carry images of “the good life” recognized around the world as the American Dream, both shaping and reflecting the complex technological, political and economic dynamics associated with globalization. How do these ideas and images shape other cultures? And what are the ecological, political, and economic impacts for the countries that produce iPhones, Nikes, and other iconic objects of consumer desire for the USA?
In AMST: 352 American Culture in Global Perspective, offered at UMBC’s Shady Grove campus, students will examine these issues by ‘hitching a ride’ with some of America’s most visible consumer goods as they cross the globe. This course, which fulfills both the Arts and Humanities and Culture GEPs, is part of this summer session’s Culture & Social Justice emphasis.