I Was a Teenage Teenager: A Study of Teen Culture

Alternately feared and revered by adult society, American teens have consistently been the topic of considerable research and debate.  If they are neither children nor adults, then what, exactly, are they?  In this course, we will examine the historical precedents of what we now call “adolescence” and investigate what factors of the 20th century conspired to create something altogether new in that tenuous space between childhood and adulthood: the American teen. Using a variety of media, texts, music, films, fads, and fashion, from the 1940s through the early 21st century, we will also explore the evolution of “the teenager,” in an attempt to understand this unique social invention and its impact on western popular culture and society. From sock hops to Woodstock; bell bottoms to parachute pants; Walkmans to cellphones – teens have developed a distinct and memorable voice. In what ways will their experiences speak to yours?  This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
 

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