Professor Maxine Berg


Seminars are scheduled to take place on Thursdays, 1pm-3pm. Room S 2.73

Context of Module
Module Aims
Intended Learning Outcomes
Preliminary Bibliography

The history of consumption is the history of all the things that are part of our daily lives -- the things we desire, buy, wear, eat, drink, discard -- and about the ways in which the things we consume shape our lives. It is as much part of our daily lives today as it was part of every period in the past; and as much about the worlds we inhabit locally as about distant worlds. The history of consumption is also about the ways in which patterns of consumption connect the past and the present, and the local and the global. Each of the themes we have selected (see the syllabus for details, but they include Consumption and Consumer Revolutions, the Problem of Shopping, the Cultural Lives of Things, Fashion and Taste, Food and Food Cultures, Drugs and Stimulants) can be studies as part of different times and places.

Module Aims
To widen and deepen students’ understanding of themes in the study of consumption in history across chronological period and geographical area; to help students develop a conceptual and practical understanding of the skills of an historian of consumption; to help students hone their ability to formulate and achieve a piece of critical and reflective historiographical writing; to support students in developing the ability to undertake critical analysis; to help students develop the ability to formulate and test concepts and hypotheses.
Intended Learning Outcomes
  1. Consumption and Consumer Revolutions (Maxine Berg and Larry Klein)
  2. Consumption and the Cold War (Susan Carruthers)
  3. Visual and Material Cultures of Consumption (Anne Gerritsen)
  4. Fashion and Taste (Shinibu Majima and Adrianna Catena)
  5. Food and Food Cultures (Rebecca Earle)
  6. Reading week
  7. Drinking Cultures (Beat Kumin)
  8. Consumption and Collecting (Michael Bycroft)
  9. Drugs and Stimulants (Ben Smith)
  10. Global Trade and Commodities in Everyday Life (Song-Chuan Chen)
Preliminary Bibliography

Arjun Appadurai, ed., The Social life of things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1986).

Ina Baghdiantz McCabe, A History of Global Consumption (London: Routledge, 2015).

Maxine Berg, Luxury and Pleasure in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).

John Brewer and Roy Porter, eds., Consumption and the World of Goods (London: Routldge, 1993).

John Brewer and Frank Trentmann, eds., Consuming Cultures, Global Perspectives: Historical Trajectories, Transnational Exchanges (Oxford: Berg, 2006).

Craig Clunas, Superfluous Things: Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China (Honolulu: University of Hawai’I Press, 2004).

Paula Findlen, ed., Early Modern Things (New York: Routledge, 2014).

Anne Gerritsen and Giorgio Riello, eds., Writing Material Culture History (London: Bloomsbury, 2015).

Daniel Miller, Stuff (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2010).

Chandra Mukerji, From Graven Images: Patterns of Modern Materialism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983).

Jeremy Prestholt, Domesticating the World: African Consumerism and the Genealogies of Globalization (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008).

Donald Quataert, ed., Consumption Studies and the History of the Ottoman Empire, 1550-1922 (New York: CUNY, 2000).

Daniel Roche, History of Everyday Things (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

Frank Trentmann, ed., The Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

Pamela Smith and Paula Findlen, eds., Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science, and Art in Early Modern Europe (New York: Routledge, 2002).


One 6000 word assessed essay, to be submitted by (To be Confirmed).