Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Art and Power: Changemaking American Art
Monday | Wednesday: 11:00 - 12:30pm
This course will examine how art in the 19th and early 20thcenturies effected change in the United States. Spurring the creation of the national parks system, contributing to labor reform, and critiquing wars and wealth disparity–among many other things–art in this period did workwithin broader society. The course will ask, as we move further into the 20thcentury, what changed? Is it possible to conceive of a future in which art again has the power to enact change? As we ask these questions, we will examine case studies of art doing social good in the world.
As this is the second course in the Reading and Composition series, the syllabus also places an emphasis on the acquisition of the skills required for researching and writing a successful 10- to 12-page undergraduate term paper. The different topics will guide us through the process of turning a vaguely defined research question into a well-researched argumentabout a topic. In addition to building the standard methodological, organizational, and literary capabilities required for all kinds of research papers, we will develop the following skills: How do we find sources that help us see beyond readily-available, common sense knowledge? How might the study of visual culture help us work through concerns that are normally classified as social or political? Finally, this class will also equip students with the toolkit to look at and study art as we seek to understand how and why visual images hold such power.