Manners, Morals, and Aesthetic Reform in 19th-Century America





This course provides students with an understanding of how the social ideals of politeness and gentility not only gave rise to a particular code of conduct but also determined the physical appearance of homes and cities. The first section of the course explores the idea of the home as a primary focus of privacy from the perspectives of history, anthropology, and architecture. The second section traces the development of politeness and gentility as social ideals, practices, and styles of consumption; 19th-century guides to etiquette and household decoration and recent histories of domestic and social spaces are studied. The final section concentrates on the cult of domesticity, women, and reform, and 19th-century writings on home economics, feminism, and household design, along with recent histories of these subjects are examined. 3 credits.