Thursday, March 19, 2009

My academic side: teaching a new course on craft and production

I've been blogging here as a side interest, while a book project gets most of my attention. (It's related to ethical fashion on the gender vs. gender-free side of things, being about pink and blue and all that.) It's been a real luxury being on sabbatical; time is everyone's most precious commodity, and I was willing to go on half salary in return for a full year to research, think and write. (also knit, cook and take afternoon naps) With just under six months before I am back in the classroom, I now have my teaching schedule and and trying hard not to get too excited, lest the book slip to the back burner. Fortunately, next year's courses include two new courses which will be making frequent appearances in this blog.

Advanced Material Culture: Craft and Production (Fall 2009). Most material culture literature and teaching these days seem to emphasize either object analysis or consumer culture, as opposed to the production of objects and the relationship between maker and artifact. Given the interest in DIY (including gardening, knitting, furniture hacking, and all forms of cookery) and my own lifelong fascination with how things are made, this seemed to be a great, fresh angle to pursue. I am looking for good readings, but want the course to be very hands-on, not text-heavy.

Consumer Culture: Simplicity and Anti-consumption in American Life (Spring 2010). This is a course I've been imagining ever since I migrated from textiles to American Studies. Consumer culture literature and courses tend to focus on advertising, marketing, consumer-identity/branding aspects of purchasing behavior, but American culture has always included movements which resist or oppose excessive consumption. David Shi's The Simple Life: Plain Living and High Thinking in American Culturewill provide the historical perspective.

I'll be posting about both courses here as they progress.

4 comments:

Kella said...

I currently teach an undergraduate interdisciplinary course dedicated to the handmade movement and DIY culture that explores how people relate to the objects they produce. A text I've found inspiring, albeit limited in who it profiles, is Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design by Faythe Levine and Courtney Heimerl. Best of luck in creating this course!

Jo said...

That sounds like a great course! Where do you teach?

MbS said...

I need to take this class to look at the cradle to grave alternatives to BIG FASHION...and add entropy, making it a chapter....

Jo said...

Feel free to drop by, eavesdrop, discuss over drinks at Franklin's, etc. I will be blogging and tweeting as it goes.