Social and Historical Roots of Arts and Culture

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IMA Number: 701.00 | 3 credits
Course Type: Analytical
Professor: Stuart Ewen
This class meets M 5:30-8:30 pm in HN 433B
Full Course Description:

In conjunction with readings, films and a variety of other materials, this seminar will explore the crossroads between the development of a global commercial society, and the rise of a modern media system and consumer culture. Relations between visual culture, language, the senses of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste, will be scrutinized in light of the changing dynamics of power and social interaction over a period of centuries.

We will also engage changes in the physics of perception, and in the character of public life and public communication that have evolved alongside the rise of a world market system, metropolitan life, and a modern media culture. Throughout the course of the semester, we will examine media artifacts and aesthetic currents in relation to distinct cultural outlooks and important social and/or historical changes. Historical junctures linking art, science, religion, popular culture with modern media systems will be explored as well. Areas of concern include the history, influence and meanings of visual language, the changing consequence of words in print and speech, the relationship between social structure, classification systems, social psychology, and modernity.

The approach of the seminar is to combine projects that are designed to challenge the conventional shape, substance and content of knowledge with a critical set of questions regarding the media’s historical development, their connection with surrounding social occurrences, and their changing capacity to frame and, at times, interfere with public understandings of the world around them.

Permissions: Cleared after advisement with IMA Director and Program Coordinator.