Susie Strasser looks at the economics of domestic life in America through the lens of the kitchen window–from both sides! In a fascinating discussion, we talked about how housework has changed in America, how those changes tie into the history of mass marketing and distribution, how mass marketing led her to become curious about what we do with all the “stuff” we produce, and how herbal remedies have played a role in American’s domestic life for a long time. We talked about Ivory Soap, darning, peddlers and tinkers, economic forces, recycling, and even how herbal medicines made the trek from North Carolina to the big cities in the North.
Listen to the interview
Susan Strasser, History
About our guest
Susan Strasser, the Richards Chair professor, History, at the University of Delaware, is a historian of American consumer culture, praised by the New Yorker for “retrieving what history discards: the taken-for-granted minutiae of everyday life.”
Professor Strasser is the author of three books, with another on the way, all about our relationship to the material world:
- Never Done: A history of American Housework (1982)
- Satisfaction Guaranteed: The making of the American mass market (1989)
- Waste and Want: A social history of trash (1999)
- A Historical Herbal: Healing with plants in a developing consumer culture (forthcoming)
In addition to teaching in UD’s History department, she is also a Senior Resident Scholar at the Hagley Museum and Library’s Center for the History of Business, Technology and Society. She teaches a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses on topics related to the histories of consumer culture, the environment and industrialization, concentrating on the United States since 1865.
- UD Department of History
- Susan Strasser (Official Department of History page)
- Susan Strasser (Official Center for Material Culture Studies page)
- UDaily stories