Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: The Architecture of Home – Artistic Representations from Levittown to the Co-house
Monday | Wednesday: 3:30 - 5:00pm
The architecture of the home is the result of a historically constructed juxtaposition between visual representations (advertisement, marketing) and the social manifestations of domestic life (everyday practices, housing policy among other manifestations). In twentieth-century America, the abstract notion of home embedded the modern idea of comfort while fulfilling the basic needs for shelter. In this class, we will interrogate visual representations of the domestic realm by looking at the home-society relationship through the makings of the "modern" nuclear family in the early post-WWII years (the Levittown model) followed by the counterculture of domesticity in the 70s (cooperative housing, co-housing and communal living). Through these case studies, we aim to challenge the common understanding of the nuclear family and its social engineering. We will question socio-political constructions of the notion of home and comfort through an analysis of masculinity and femininity, homemakers and material culture, household kinship and patronage.
We will practice reading and writing as we critically engage with the literature on the enactment of domestic spaces through architecture-related textual and visual representations. Students will learn how to formulate a research question and a thesis, how to distinguish between and dialogue with primary and secondary sources, and how to make an argument evolve. Class time will be devoted to discussions and group activities, and the semester will culminate with a 10 to 12 page research paper.