TAS206 Americanism and Anti-Americanism in the European Perspective

Teacher responsible:

Dr. Jolanta Szymkowska-Bartyzel

Brief course description:

The course introduces the worldwide phenomenon of "Americanization" as it manifested itself in Europe throughout the 20th century. The way "Americanization" is represented in different aspects of reality is examined. The primary focus will be on the complex relationship between American popular culture and its assimilation in different European countries. The course also investigates the ways that "Americanization" intersects with economics and politics.

Aims:

The main objective of the course is to:
1) introduce students to the major concepts of "Americanization" in the context of globalization;
2) estimate critically and reasonably the dilemmas of mass culture, its ideology and representations; and
3) examine the role of  American culture (film, media, literature) in the construction of the changing cultural identities in the various European countries.

 

The course aims not just to enrich the knowledge of students, but to develop the skills of independent and critical study of the issue, to stimulate their reflexivity when interpreting social and cultural  practices.

Content:

1. What "Americanization" are we talking about?
2. America versus Europe at the beginning of the 20th century.
3. Mass culture and mass society. The mass culture debate.
4. Mass culture and Americanization.
5. Americanization and the critique of mass culture theory.
6. Americanization in the 1920s and 1930s: France, Germany and Poland.
7. The American military occupation of Germany and Pax Americana.
8. American popular culture in the divided Europe.
9. Americanization, globalization, coca-colanization. The role of transnational corporations.
10. European intellectuals about America and Americanization:  from Adorno to Baudrillard.
11. Looking for national identities or the end of the American Dream.
12. Europeanization of America: looking for evidence.
13 How do Yankees colonize us? On the channels of Americanization.
14. Cultural homogenization: is it dangerous?
15. Americanization: a fact or a myth. Final discussion.

Reading list:

Zygmunt Bauman, Globalization. The Human Consequences; Richard H. Pells, Not Like Us: How Europeans Have Loved, Hated, and Transformed American Culture Since World War I; George Ritzer, The McDonaldization of Society; Alexander Stephan (ed.), The Americanization of Europe. Culture, diplomacy and Anty- Americanism after 1945; Dominic Strinati, An Introduction to theories of Popular Culture; Dominic Strinati and Stephen Wagg (eds.), Come on down? Popular Media Culture in Post-war Britain.