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Academic Bulletin Freshman Tutorials - 2010-11 - 10 FT 10

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FT 010-D The Automobile: Blessings and Curses

Professor Preston Bost, Department of Psychology, 9:45 TTh
In September 1893 brothers Charles and Frank Duryea tested what was to become America’s first commercially produced gasoline-powered automobile, the Duryea Motor Wagon. The Motor Wagon was not fast, or agile, or commercially successful, but the Duryea Motor Car company presaged what was to come. Within ten years, over one hundred companies were producing automobiles, racing competitions were popular events, and the fate of the horse-drawn carriage was sealed. One hundred years later, Americans’ infatuation with the automobile is undiminished; this course is about how America and the automobile have grown together and how the “horseless carriage” has tapped into our humanity and shaped the character of our society.

In addition to learning about automobile design, engineering and production, we will explore the role of competition and status in automobile marketing and consumption; the place of the automobile in labor/management relations; the suburbanization of America; and the centrality of the automobile in modern debates about the environment, economic boom and bust, and government regulation. We will also consider Indiana’s prominence in early automobile production. Students can expect a wide variety of texts and video, guest lecturers, and regular discussion and small group work.

Bost, Preston
Credits: 1