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Course 2020-2021 a.y.

30396 - CRITICAL APPROACHES TO THE ARTS II - MODULE II (ART AND POLITICS)

CLEACC
Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English


Go to class group/s: 31

CLEACC (6 credits - II sem. - OBS  |  L-ART/01)
Course Director:
STEFANIA GEREVINI

Classes: 31 (II sem.)
Instructors:
Class 31: STEFANIA GEREVINI


Suggested background knowledge

Good oral and written command of English.


Mission & Content Summary
MISSION

This course aims to introduce students to the complex intersections between visual arts and politics. What do specific images, monuments and artefacts say about the cultural identity, historical memory, and political ideologies of a community? In what ways can they contribute to construct, advertise and disseminate shared ideals and values? How and why do certain social groups reject specific monuments and images, and how do they communicate their (subversive) identities through the visual? Conversely, what are the institutional, discursive, and ideological contexts that shape the objects and images that we call visual art? By addressing these questions in relation to selected case studies, the course of arts and politics provides students with the foundations of knowledge and the basic critical and analytical tools to examine artifacts in relation to their cultural, social and political milieu.

CONTENT SUMMARY

The course addresses specific monuments, images and artefacts in relation with the history of Europe and North America, their societies and politics. The course, structured as a series of in depth case studies, and composed of two modules, focuses on how political ideology, social and political changes influenced artistic productions; and on how the arts contributed to create and inform political and social imaginaries. A detailed course program is presented at the beginning of the course. Topics may include (but are not confined to):

  • Performing politics: Art, social revolt, and political action.
  • Making heritage: Nationalisms and Colonialisms.
  • The power of images: The art of propaganda, the art of resistance.
  • Body politics: Sacralizing death, imaging illness.
  • Representing the ‘unrepresentable’: Capturing conflict.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Appreciate and articulate the ability of images and artifacts to interrogate the political sphere.
  • Grasp the potential of images, artifacts and monuments to convey political messages and ideologies.
  • Understand the complex historicity of artworks – and their changing meanings over time.
APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Approach artifacts beyond their aesthetic appeal, and examine them in relation to their cultural, social and political milieu.
  • Formulate critical arguments about the interconnections between images, artifacts and monuments, and the political realities that they manifest.
  • Problematize the notion of cultural heritage and cultural identities.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Company visits
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Individual assignments
  • Group assignments
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
DETAILS

This course combines traditional frontal teaching (lectures) with seminar-based activities and off-campus visits to relevant collections, institutions and/or exhibitions. Visual analysis plays a central role, and image-based exercises (both individual and in group) are assigned throughout the course. Students are expected to participate in class discussions.


Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •     x
    ATTENDING STUDENTS

    Students are required to take a final exam (100% of the grade). The exam is written, and students are asked to answer a mix of open-ended questions and image or source-based questions. The exam paper is based on course readings, as well as on seminar materials and discussions held in class. Consistently with the expected learning outcomes of this course, the exam aims to assess students' engagement with and understanding of textual and visual evidence, and their ability to interpret such evidence critically, showing understanding of the visual regimes, narratives, and conceptual issues at stake in the course.

    NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    Students are required to take a final exam (100% of the grade). The exam is written, and students are asked to answer a mix of open-ended questions and image or source-based questions. The exam paper is based on a reading list that students receive when they enter the course. The exam aims to assess the familiarity of non attending students with the key conceptual, historical and historiographic issues addressed by the assigned readings; their ability to summarize and critically interpret the narratives and arguments advanced by those readings; and their capacity to link textual and visual evidence, producing well-grounded and original interpretative essays.


    Teaching materials
    ATTENDING STUDENTS

    Attending students are required to read a comprehensive reading list, which includes articles, book chapters and critical essays relevant to each class topic. The complete reading list are made available to students on the first day of class, and - where possible - readings are made available on Course Reserve at the library (online and/or off line).

    NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    Non attending students are required to read the following books:

    • C. GINZBURG. Fear, reverence, terror:  five essays in political iconography, London, Seagull Books, 2017 
    • G. DIDI HUBERMANN, Images in Spite of All, Chicago, Chicago University Press, 2008.
    • L. NOCHLIN, Women, Art, Power and other essays. New York, Harper and Row, 1988.
    • S. SONTAG, Regarding the Pain of Others, New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003.