University of Notre Dame

Meaning, Materialism, and Modern Life

Course Number: SOC 13181-5
Instructor: Eugene Halton

The seminar will explore the prehistory, rise, and trajectory of materialism, the varieties of ways materialism manifests in consciousness and consumption culture, and implications of “demateralization.” We begin with a brief look at the prehistory, and then rise, of materialisms, examining in the first couple of weeks the watershed of consciousness involved in the transition from hunter-gatherer life to that of agriculturally-based civilization, and in many ways the origins of materialism. We then move to consider the rise of modern materialism and consumption culture.