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.