HUMS 247, Material Culture and Iconic Consciousness

Meeting Time: 
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

Course Description:

What is the role of material symbols in contemporary social life? During the first 4 weeks of this seminar (Part I), we discuss theoretical debates about iconicity in aesthetics, sociology, and philosophy. In the second 4 weeks (Part II), after reviewing arguments over commodification – does it strip icons of meaning? – we engage theories about branding in contemporary capitalism and case studies of Nike and blue jeans. The last 4 weeks (Part III) is devoted to the politics of iconicity – women’s bodies, blackness, elite privilege, and oppression/resistance. 

Led By:

Professor Jeffrey Alexander

Jeffrey C. Alexander is the Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University. Along with Philip Smith he is Co-Director of the  Center for Cultural Sociology (CCS). Jeffrey Alexander works in the areas of theory, culture, and politics. An exponent of the “strong program” in cultural sociology, he has investigated the cultural codes and narratives that inform diverse areas of social life.