Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Art under Fascism: Italy, Germany, and Argentina, 1918-1955
Tuesday, Thursday: 5:00-6:30pm
This course aims to develop students’ critical thinking, looking, reading, and writing skills through close analysis of visual art and aesthetic theory, with a particular emphasis on twentieth-century art under fascist regimes in Italy, Germany, and Argentina. To better understand the state-approved aesthetic movements we will be studying, we will also investigate the ideological foundations of each national example of fascism. Conversely, to develop a fuller understanding of each artistic context, we will also examine artworks that developed in opposition to state-sponsored programs. This course will enable us to see the transnational dimension of aesthetics both fostered by and antagonistic to fascism in the mid-century.
Moving between examples of modernist art and theoretical texts on the aestheticization of politics and fascism, in particular, students will learn how to approach visual and art historical works, and they will consider what close looking means when applied to a variety of aesthetic forms. As R1B is the second half of a year-long writing curriculum, we will focus not only on the development of exegetical writing, but also on research skills. While this course emphasizes the development of research writing techniques, it also sees the following as essential for successful writing: engaging in meaningful close analysis and developing a clear understanding of the course’s visual materials and texts, along with your individual research materials. During the second half of the semester, each student will develop and write a 10-12 page research paper.