Joanna Cohen on the US and Early Patriotism

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Helen talks to Joanna Cohen about the relationship between patriotism and consumption and how American attitudes towards consumption changed over the 19th century, particularly in response to the American Civil War. The ways people thought about the American flag, for instance, are particularly insightful as tools for understanding their attitudes towards these topics, as are societal attitudes towards women and commerce.

More generally, she works on the relationship between capitalism, consumption and emotion, and her 2017 book Luxurious Citizens looks at a shift in consumer attitudes, from patriot-citizen to patriot-consumer. Cohen has thought at length about how people relate themselves to the marketplace. She explores the origins of detaching oneself from the marketplace, and trying to find an authentic 'self', differentiated from the consumer goods that one wears and purchases.

Joanna Cohen is a historian of 19th century America, and a Senior Lecturer in American History at Queen Mary University of London.

Find out more here: https://www.ukri.org/news/100-new-generation-thinkers/

Producer: Peter Curry



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