Lawrence University

Course Requirements

Class Schedule


Skill Building

Library Guides

Research Guide

Electronic Archives

 History Department Site

History Academic Pages



This course is designed as an introduction to the practical skills of doing history and is aimed at freshmen and sophomores planning to major in history or others seriously interested in learning how to navigate the waters of historical study. The course emphasizes acquiring the techniques contemporary historians use to research into the past, make sense of their findings, and present them to others in a variety of media. Students will discover how to do a thorough bibliographical search of all major forms of historical work, to find and interpret primary sources,and to master the basic historical essay as well as learn a variety of practical tips for “doing history” in the classroom. These techniques will be illustrated through materials that bear upon a common topic.

The topic this term is the emergence of the mass consumer society in the era after World War II, an era sometimes known as the Electronic or Media Age because of the dominant role played in it by radio, recordings, television, films, and other new mediums of popular culture. Although first developed in North America, the new society and culture became increasingly global in extent, proving perhaps the most decisive forces of change toward the end of the twentieth century. Equally criticized by traditional groups, Marxists, liberal Western elites, counter culture advocates of the left, and neo-conservatives of the right, consumer society and its culture have nonetheless achieved unchallenged sway across the entire globe as the dominant influence in the contemporary world. Historians are now beginning to ask how and why it attained this stature. And so shall we.



    revised January 24, 2002