Description of the first-year seminar I’ll be teaching in the fall. 

RETRO: How and Why the Past Comes Back

In this course we will explore retro culture – our persistent tendency to become infatuated with cultural modes and artifacts of the past, often in ways that idealize that past. We’ll look at retro movements in music, movies, television, gaming, fashion, and especially technology – because using technologies from the past is one of the most common ways we express our fascination with it. We’ll explore the phenomenon of nostalgia. And we’ll try to understand how retro culture differs from the preservation of a living past – a past that still thrives in the present.

Readings for this class will be in the form of PDFs that you will be asked to download and print out; you will sometimes be asked to watch videos and listen to music; and we will bring objects to class that in some way exemplify retro culture.