SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 700, Expressive Culture: Topics—Pop in Latino American Music
Prof. Fiol-Matta (Spanish & Portuguese) [syllabus]
Considers several important moments in Latin American and US Latino popular music, approached as a transnational phenomenon. The focus is on the performance of music, from tango to narcorrido, traversing folk, revival, MPB, salsa, rock, and contemporary Latino genres. Students learn how to reflect on music critically, as a collective expression of emotions, desire, and affects, and as an arena where social and political experiences manifest through creative expression. We also study the emergence of mass culture as decisive in our understanding of popular music and pay attention to broader music culture, especially the rise of consumer culture and the entertainment industry.
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 720 001, Expressive Culture: Images
Prof. Crow (Institute of Fine Arts) [syllabus]
The Pop Revolution in Art, Music, and Design. In a burst of change that resonated across the world, the early 1960s witnessed the arrival of Pop Art. At first concentrated in the studios and galleries of lower Manhattan, its commercialized imagery and eye-catching colors soon made their appearance across the globe, providing the signature visual accompaniment for this notorious decade of youthful experimentation and dissent. The fierce resistance encountered by early Pop artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol demonstrated how severely Pop had challenged and shaken the existing hierarchy of culture. A high seriousness and need for profundity had typified fine art, qualities deemed antithetical to the everyday pastimes and seductions of popular culture. That such motifs were invading galleries and museums signified the collapse of that exclusivity under the weight of unrealizable aspirations. This newly accepting outlook on the artifacts and images of everyday life, however, was not as new as it appeared. In London, artists, designers, and dissident intellectuals had shown the way from the early 1950s. Similarly and much earlier in downtown Manhattan, sophisticated revivals of American folk art and music had brought popular expression to the fore as a counterweight to high-minded artistic imports from Europe. As the idea of a Pop Art had been drawn from a wider world, so its innovations of the early 1960s soon migrated to the international counterculture. Young, non-conformist designers, musicians, and filmmakers applied that same artistic self-consciousness to their own endeavors. And these waves persist into the present day.
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 720 010, Expressive Culture: Images
Prof. Silver (Art History)
Avant-Garde New York, from the Armory Show to Andy Warhol. New York emerged as the center of avant-garde art making in the period just after the World War II, although the city had preparing for its modernist ascendancy since the early years of the 20th century. We focus on the artists—native New Yorkers and out-of-towners, Americans and foreign-born practitioners—who helped to shape and refine New York’s extraordinarily rich avant-garde “tradition.” We study significant painters, sculptors, photographers, architects, graphic artists and designers in the context in which their work came into being and flourished—museums, galleries, art schools, patrons, salons, neighborhoods, professional organizations, ad hoc associations, and artist “hangouts.” Topics include: the Stieglitz Circle and 291; The Armory Show (1913); Marcel Duchamp and New York Dada; the Paris/New York connection; the founding of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Guggenheim Museum; New York Street Photography; Avant-gardism in Washington Square: from the “Republic of Greenwich Village” to the birth of Abstract Expressionism and the Judson Dance Theater and Gallery; and the crossing-over of Pop Art, from Madison Avenue to 57th Street.
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 730, Expressive Culture: Sounds
Prof. Terry (Music) [syllabus]
The rhythmic revolution that took place starting from Machito and his Afro-Cubans in the 1940’s changed the course of American music forever. It became an integral part of the American soundscape. In order to understand the evolution of Cuban music, we begin with Cuba’s social structures, complex immigration history, and cultural heritage. We cover the many genres of Cuban music that grew out of this mixture of history and social conditions, and an anatomy of the sounds that identify the various genres of Cuban music. Students become acquainted with these different musical styles and traditions, and develop an understanding of the role of beat, syncopation, and melodic counterpoint in Cuban music and attend performances of Cuban music in the NYC area when possible.
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 730, Expressive Culture: Sounds
Prof. Samuels (Music) [syllabus]
Why does sound matter? We explore a number of overlapping arguments about the need to reclaim an ethical human community from the perceived dehumanizing processes of industrial modernity. Shaken by two world wars, a great depression, and a global expansion of industrial power, people in the United States and elsewhere searched for ways to maintain their intergrity as human beings in the face of these upheavals. An important part of this search took inspiration from imagining how people should sound—when they sang, worked, played, worshipped, or socialized. Focusing on movements growing out of that inspiration—in folk music, Medieval and Renaissance music, and world music—we attempt to understand how questions of sound, and definitions of musical sound, occupied so many of the contributors to this discourse about the scope of the human within modern urban industrial capitalism.
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 740, Expressive Culture: Performance
Prof. Meineck (Classics) [syllabus]
Why do we still go to the theatre to watch plays? What is it about drama that can often seem to express so much about the tensions and stresses found in a given culture? Why does classical drama in particular continue to be performed and speak to so many different audiences? What is a classical play and how do theater artists interpret them for contemporary spectators, and why have so many works of drama been used to reflect the social, political, and economic situations of peoples all over the world? We explore the cultural significance of classical theater and how and why it continues to be performed today. We examine theater from four distinct period--ancient Athens, Elizabethan London, early modern Europe, and contemporary America--focusing on plays that are still regularly performed on contemporary stages. Students also take part in readings, exercises, and demonstrations, but they do not need to have any acting or performance ability.
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 750, Expressive Culture: Film
Prof. Straayer (Cinema Studies) [Syllabus]
The status of film noir, a 1940-50s American film phenomenon named by French critics, remains hotly debated. Was it a genre, a thematic movement, or a stylistic innovation? Was it the product of post war malaise? Was it knowingly existentialist? Was it a voice from society’s underside? Did it admit disrupted gender roles? Was it perverse? Was it American? And, finally, how has it intensified and morphed in more recent filmmaking? We address such topics as international and interdisciplinary influences, philosophical and psychological references, artistic and literary precursors, historical and cultural resonances, war-time and post-war culture, industrial and technical implications, semantic and syntactic elements, adaptation and remake, authorial conduits, production economics, genre hybridity, narrative structure, urban locations, racialized space, masculinity in crisis, and the femme fatale. Students learn the vocabulary and grammar of film and how visual codes within spatial-temporal articulations produce meaning and expression. We also examine film noir’s relation to modernist literature, hard-boiled fiction, tabloid and photo journalism, German expressionism, French poetic realism, and surrealism, and contextualize film noir within larger frameworks of Hollywood film and American society.