Advertising and Society

This course examines the relation of advertising to society, culture, history, and the economy. Using contemporary theories about visual communications, we learn to analyze the complex levels of meaning in both print advertisements and television commercials.

About The Course

The course covers a wide range of topics, including the origins of advertising, the creation of ads, the interpretation of ads, the depiction of race, class, gender, and sexuality in advertising, sex and selling, adverting and ethics, and the future of advertising. The lectures will discuss theoretical frameworks and apply them to specific advertisements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What resources will I need for this class?

Nothing other than a Coursera account.

What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this class?

You’ll never, ever be able to look at an ad again without thinking about the issues we discuss in this course.

What background is expected for learners in this class?

A genuine interest in advertising, what it is, where it came from, and how it works in our lives.

Please Note. This is NOT a course about advertising techniques and how to do advertising. Rather, it is a liberal arts course that examines the place of advertising in contemporary society and culture.

Recommended Background

No background is required; everyone is welcome!