SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 9515 Cultures and Contexts: Latin America
Prof. Palmeiro (NYU Buenos Aires)
Over the last 50 years, millions of Latin Americans have experienced extraordinary shifts in their social, political, and cultural landscape, a result of the transformative effects of revolution or insurgency, state repression, popular resistance and social movements. We focus on events that had continental, hemispheric, and even global impact, including the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the military coups of the 1970s, and the Zapatista uprising in 1994. Drawing on a range of primary sources and cultural forms, we listen carefully to the voices of the major social actors of the time. Our sources are drawn from a wide range of media: newsprint, television broadcasts, transcripts, testimony, essay, documentary and feature film, art, and music. We deliberately mix artistic representations with documentary evidence to understand how the arts—music, visual art, literature, film—do not just reflect the reality around them, but are themselves vital sites for shaping and changing that reality and our imagination of it, both then and now.
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 9544 Cultures and Contexts: Spain - At the Crossroads of Europe, North Africa & America
[Staff] (NYU Madrid)
Analyzes the ways in which historical, geopolitical, cultural, artistic, and popular views function to constitute and continuously transform a national culture. Concentrates on epistemological constructions of Spain—the idea of Spain—that emerge from competing external and internal perspectives. Students examine how this national culture is constructed, first analyzing Spain from North African perspectives through Sephardic nostalgic poetry and the Hispano-Arabic literary traditions. The American perspective pits notions of Spanish imperial power and grandeur against the Black Legend, a term that Protestant circles in Europe and the United States promoted to attack the legitimacy of Spain’s New World empire. A final focus on European views analyzes the depiction of Spain as the embodiment of German and French Romantic ideals beginning at the end of the 17th century and the reemergence of the same notion during the Spanish Civil War (1933–36). Throughout, students examine principal textual and visual images that contribute to the historical and contemporary construction of a national culture that emerged at geographic and cultural crossroads.
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 9549 Cultures and Contexts: Multinational Britain
Prof. Woods (NYU London)
The idea of British national identity has been built around a sense of united statehood within the confines of the four nations comprising the United Kingdom, ruling overseas territories. As such, it conveyed a sense of a multi-national empire ruled by monarchs, but developing over time into a benign, democratic, constitutional monarchy, generally through peaceful, not revolutionary change. The British have seen themselves historically as freedom-loving, independent, industrial, tolerant, Protestant and individualistic. These myths of national image have been forged partly through conflict with other nations over many centuries and reflect a nationalistic pride in military success and the maintenance of the largest empire the world has ever seen. Changes since 1945 have seen the collapse of that empire, membership in the European Union, large-scale immigration, changing gender politics, and the devolution of power to Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. This has inevitably led to major challenges to traditional British views of their national identity. Includes fieldtrips to key sites.
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 9544 Cultures and Contexts: Italy
Prof. Edelstein (NYU Florence)
In Italy, regional identities have always been strong, while national identity has always been complex, a situation that characterizes even current political debates. Although the Italian peninsula was home to some of the most important ancient civilizations, Italy’s existence as a united country dates only from the nineteenth century, making it younger than the US as a modern nation state. Italy was first unified by the Romans, making Roman antiquity a point of reference throughout history as intellectuals and political leaders dreamed of a unified nation. We examine how Italian identity was formed throughout history, both by Italians and by foreign visitors to Italy, in response to the principal ancient cultures that thrived on the peninsula. The focus is on primary sources—literary works, artifacts, art objects, works of architecture, opera and film—taking advantage of the unique resources of Florence to explore these in their original contexts.
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 9720 Expressive Culture: Images
Prof. Beckett (NYU London)
Contemporary Art in Britain. Contemporary art raises vigorous debate and criticism. But what is contemporary about contemporary art? We consider some key issues in dealing critically with contemporary art with a focus on work on display in exhibitions in London, both major national collections and private galleries, exploring art produced since the late 1950s through case studies of the work of individual artists and through themes which include photography, representations of the body, gallery display, video practice, and installation art. Topics include how contemporary art came to look as it does, with a focus on British art; the different forms of material and presentation artists have employed; why and how diverse audiences are addressed; and how markets, national prizes, and private collections shape the kinds of art produced and inform public taste. We also look at the collection and display of contemporary art, on a private and a public scale; dealer galleries, and issues of curation. Critical and historical writings by artists and theorists will be considered.
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 9722, Expressive Culture: Architecture in Paris Field Study
Prof. Wick (NYU Paris)
For all of the staid elegance and grandeur of Paris today, for much of its history the city developed in an ad-hoc manner, in fits and starts, beset by adversity, invasions, repression and want. We retrace this history through field study in the city’s different quarters, examining how the city’s urban form developed, and studying celebrated works of architecture, as well as the workaday structures that have defined daily life here. We explore how innovations in building, landscape design, and urbanism have sought to give the city a more livable, sustainable form, to inspire and create a sense of shared purpose and identity, but also how these arts have been used to suppress and control an often restive population. Throughout, we also consider contemporary questions facing Paris today: how can the city maintain the rich architectural and urbanistic heritage that has made it famous, while also remaining vital, sustainable, and providing quality of life and opportunities for all its residents?
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 9722 Expressive Culture: Architecture in London Field Study
Prof. Powers (NYU London)
The history of London architecture as exemplified by surviving buildings, which can be seen and visited, principally from the 17th to the 20th centuries, considered through an equal mixture of classroom lectures and field study visits to the sites and buildings, and types of buildings, discussed in the lectures.
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 9731 Expressive Culture: Music in Prague Field Study
Prof. Ackerman (NYU Prague)
The unique power and magic of music explored by informed participation in live music experiences and in connection to other phenomena in its surrounding culture, encountered through architecture walks, sound walks, and experiences with other art forms, such as photography and film. Combines lectures and listening sessions with attendance at seven music performances in difference styles, at venues of special cultural significance.
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 9750 Expressive Culture: Film
Prof. Azulys (NYU Paris)
By putting the films into their social, historical and philosophical context, the students will get to study, across a diverse range of examples, the relation existing between French films and French culture. It deals for example with the formal and thematic relationships among the Avant-garde artistic movements (futurism, cubism, expressionism, surrealism, etc.) and the cinematographic Avant-garde (Buñuel, L’Herbier, Cocteau), those between the cinema of Renoir and classical French theatre (Marivaux, Beaumarchais, Musset), the troubled period of the occupation and the filmmakers who deliberately chose to stay in France to work there (Clouzot, Carné) and the influence of Saint Germain des Prés’s existentialism (Sartre, Camus) on the Nouvelle Vague, etc. The students will thus discover that cinema is a cultural agent that reflects a period all the while produces a critical point view on said period.
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 9750 Expressive Culture: Film
[Staff] (NYU Sydney)
How has Australian cinema engaged with significant and often contested historical, political and cultural events in the nation’s past? We take a critical perspective on the history of colonisation in Australia, the legacies of the Stolen Generations, the controversies surrounding Australia’s role in World War One and the Vietnam War, as well as Australia’s relationships with its Pacific Asian neighbors, through films that have marked significant shifts in public consciousness about the past such as Gallipoli (1981), Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) and Balibo (2009). We also consider films that have employed innovative narrative and aesthetic strategies for exploring the relationship between the past and the present such as Two Laws (1982) and The Tracker (2002). Students develop their understanding of the basic methods and concepts of cinema studies and a critical vocabulary for analysing how filmmakers have approached the use of memory, testimony, re-enactment, researched detail, allegory, and archives across a diverse range of examples, including restorations, revivals, and re-imaginings of Australian cinema history such as the controversial restoration of Wake in Fright (1971) as an Australian classic; the reconstruction of Australia’s first feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906); and the revived interest in Ozploitation after the release of Not Quite Hollywood (2008).
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 9750 Expressive Culture: Film
Prof. Noble-Olsen (NYU Washington D.C.)
Cinema has been infatuated with the city since its earliest days, but in the context of American film Washington, D.C. is uniquely underrepresented in comparison to such paragons as New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. While it appears often in film and television, Washington serves primarily as a backdrop for political drama or national security crisis while ignoring the specific character of the city that has been so central to the depiction of other cinematic cities. To introduce the critical study of film, our focus on the filmic and televisual representation of Washington emphasizes this specific feature of the city’s depiction in American film and examines iconic counterexamples such as Spike Lee’s Brooklyn and Jean-Luc Godard’s Paris. We study film’s technical evolution and cultural impact over its history, looking at how different film technologies affect movies’ social and political significance and how changing viewing patterns, such as the introduction of television and digital technologies, transform cinema and our understanding of it. In addition to reading important texts and learning key concepts of film studies, we examine how filmic and televisual representations of Washington, and cities generally, have expressed concerns about war, race, gender, sexuality, and nation.
SPRING 2018 CORE-UA 9763 Expressive Culture: Art and Politics in 20th Century Germany
Prof. Hückmann (NYU Berlin)
Examines the relation between cultural narratives and radical shifts in German national identity, focusing on the 20th century, which is shaped by both the diversity of modern art and the violent politics leading to Auschwitz. How did the World Wars change art and literary forms? What divides art from propaganda? What kind of cultural identity does Modernism construct in opposition to dominant culture? Berlin offers an ideal context to study the complex relations between Modernism and politics. We consider the “scandalous” past of texts and art considered canonical today, with special attention to modes of socio-political censorship as well as the subversive power of art and literature. Includes walking tours and visits to museums and art galleries.