FYS 101 Critical Perspectives on Advertising

Advertising surrounds us. It’s everywhere. In our homes, we are constantly exposed to advertising on our televisions and various electronic devices. When we are outside, advertisers continue to bombard us with ad messages on everything from the large billboards we see when we are driving, to advertising on buses and taxis, to enticing signs on store fronts. We just can’t escape it. It is so much a part of our everyday life that we no longer realize that it is there, or what it is doing to understanding of ourselves and our society.

In this course will explore how advertising really affects us, both as an individual and as a society. Specifically, we will examine how advertising as literary texts both impacts and is a reflection of society and its dominant ideologies. Students will be introduced to multiple critical theories and will use those theories to analyze advertising and its influence on their own personal attitudes, beliefs and culture as well as those of the larger society. Some of the theories included are reader-response, gender/feminist theory, Marxist theory, and the theory of archetypes. In addition, the course will also explore current ethical and political issues related to the advertising industry, such as vice advertising, targeting children, hyper-niche advertising and privacy.