AMST 350: Perspectives on American Culture Interdisciplinary writing and research methods workshop, emphasizing revision and multiple drafts of student projects. Research explores American Studies theory and history, emphasizes role of ideology in forming national identity. Prepares students for the program’s 400-level seminar. Prerequisites: II AMST 210, and either II AMST 250 or IH AMST 248. Spring.
Student Learning Outcomes for American Studies 350:
- Students will demonstrate a growing ability to read texts with an understanding of ideology and national identity within cultural, historical, and literary contexts.
- Drawing on their knowledge of the history and theory of American Studies, students will demonstrate their developing ability to use and integrate forms of scholarship from more than one discipline to understand and interpret American culture.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to lead and to facilitate an informed discussion about texts and American culture.
- Students will demonstrate an ability to engage in a self-directed writing project that integrates earlier work in core and area courses.
- Students will demonstrate their ability to formulate a thesis; to organize, develop and sustain an argument supporting that thesis; and to revise, edit and proofread their work.
Models for organizing projects
Best regards, Roger Camp
I no longer feel cocky or confident about this project, but eager. Thoughts bubbled while reading Alexis de Tocqueville, Benjamin Barber, and James Baldwin over the last few months thinking about where hip-hop fits into American identity, art contributing to democracy, and the human experience as art’s “raw materials”. But how does it fit all together? I know I have an answer inside of me, and I am eager to learn what it is (Democracy Manifest)
Open Space of Democracy Collaboratory A collaboration laboratory to explore and to create projects that exemplify the practice of American Cultural Studies
Project: Democratic Culture. We have six class sessions to work. The productivity of the collaborative will depend in part on your individual work, and the productivity of your individual work will depend in part on the collaborative
Primary Sources: Texts, Sites, Events, Performances, Figures, Objects. So far, Bodies, Public Art, Festivals, Sound and Soundtrack of. . .Hip Hop Music, etc.
Secondary Sources: Reading List for the Course. Context Links on Open space of Democracy Web Site
Concept Archive: Our Awesome Archive of Readings. We will start in class and share results on Thursday. Post on your blog a list of key terms/concepts in your individual project and at least three excerpts or quotations from our readings.
Examples Below to prime the pump
“We find ourselves abruptly in close quarters with the enemy. This word Culture, or what it has come to represent, involves, by contrast, our whole theme, and has been, indeed, the spur, urging us to engagement” (Walt Whitman, “Democratic Vistas” 1871)
“My utmost pretension is probably but to offset that old claim of the exclusively curative power of first-class individual men, as leaders and rulers, by the claims and general movement and result of ideas. Something of the latter kind seems to me to be the distinctive theory of America, of democracy, and of the modern—or rather, I should say, it is democracy, and is the modern” (Walt Whitman, “Carlyle from American Points of View” 1881)
The criticism and attack on institutions which we have witnessed, has made one thing plain, that society gains nothing whilst a man, not himself renovated, attempts to renovate things around him: he has become tediously good in some particular, but negligent or narrow in the rest; and hypocrisy and vanity are often the disgusting result (Emerson “New England Reformers” 1844)
“The cleanest expression is that which finds no sphere worthy of itself and makes one” (Walt Whitman, “Preface” the 1855 Edition of Leaves of Grass)
I believe that institutions are nothing but collections of individuals. If you would agree with that, then you would need to agree that because one can be critical with oneself, of course there could be criticality within institutions too (Helguera Tikhonova Interview)
I believe that complete outsider-ness in the field of art is an illusion. Finally, the notion of institution is relative: some major artists are institutions, and in fact their staff in their studios is larger than the staff of a small museum. Yet we maintain the myth that artists are lone rangers and museums are monolithic, faceless and powerful forces (Helguera Tikhonova Interview)
“Instead of critiquing the current system, you have to make a new system that will render the previous system superfluous or irrelevant. So as artists we need to build institutions, we need to be institutional” (Helguera)
Art and Individuality
“Art thrives on nonconformity, exploration, expression, and the development of individuality” (Sommer 48)
Art and Experience
Through art we reframe experience, offset prejudice and refresh our perception of what exists so that it seems new and worthy of attention
Critical thinking is both a condition of and a compliment to art-making—world making in Dewey’s pragmatic and democratizing sense of art as experience—that sparks more exploration and more experience
Language and Play
This is why bilingual and bicultural games are a source of endless fun and wisdom as they track the artful failures of language. Misunderstanding, intentional or not, is also why foreigners help keep democracy dynamic, by asking unlikely questions that stimulate justification or reform (Sommer 27)
Creation and Criticism
We lay hold of the full import of art only as we go through in our own vital processes the processes the artist went through in producing the work. It is the critic’s privilege to share in the promotion of this active process. His condemnation is that he so often arrests it (Dewey Art as Experience)
Socially engaged Art
These are works that are designed to address social or political issues only in an allegorical, metaphorical, or symbolic level (for example, a painting about social issues is not very different than a public art project that claims to offer a social experience but only does so in a symbolic way such as the ones just described above). The work does not control a social situation in an instrumental and strategic way in order to achieve a specific end (Helguera Interview)
Art, for better or for worse, continues to be this playing field that is defined by its capacity to redefine itself. You cannot say, “This is not art!” because tomorrow it could be, or “It can be art,” because I say it is. Art is a space, which we have created, where we can cease to subscribe to the demands and the rules of society; it is a space where we can pretend. We can play, we can rethink things, we can think about them backwards (Helguera A Bad Education)
Joanna Kakissis Story on NPR about Luka Maksimovic, a 25-year-old student, and character Ljubisa Preletacevic, or Beli
Questions for discussion
What is the purpose of education?
Is education for socialization and/or individuation?
How do we think about the relationship between education and democracy?
Doris Sommer says that art “thrives on nonconformity, exploration, expression, and the development of individuality” (48). Can you conjure a few examples of art that does any/all of these things?
How does The Work of Art in the World help you to understand your project idea? Write down the sentences in Sommer’s book, with page references, that help.
“Art reframes relationships and releases raw feelings that rub against convention. . .aesthetic effects are crises of comprehension, breaches between habit and understanding” (50)
“transitive democracy” (59) Augusto Boal
“I admit that formalist art education can seem annoyingly outdated to colleagues who have rejected the constraints of text-based interpretation to venture into the multifarious practices that make up culture, the range of cultures. Today, humanistic interpretation necessarily includes reflections on performance beyond the archives and museums of tangible art, on tangible ritual and spectacle as they shape our social life” (89)
“Protest as the beginning and end of politics was itself a symptom of pessimism. Helpless to explore alternative practices, intellectual seemed stuck between outrage and resignation. Was this an unintended and perverse complicity with the problems?” (93)
A few notes on Rorty for class discussion
Will acculturation to the norms of our society produce freedom or alienation?
Right: handing down “fundamental truths”: seeking truth -> reason (overcoming passion and sin = civilizing) -> freedom -> community
Goal of primary and secondary education is socialization (Platonic ascetism)
Left: taking up “the discourses of power (freedom): overcoming convention/prejudice (process of socialization = alienation) -> truth -> individual
Goal of non-vocational higher education is individuation (Socratic skepticism or social criticism)
Aspect Metadata work (update)
This issue of Aspect Magazine is a progress report. Detailing music, albums, and art during 1969. This issue of Aspect is one of the earlier. It begins by telling the progress of the overall magazine: who should read it, where can you find it, what it covers. The first page answers all these questions right off the bat. The next section deals with songs, albums, and music artists, the tone is rather satirical. Right after this, the issue takes a more serious turn focusing on world issues and relationships with other countries such as China, the Middle Eastern areas, and delves into topics of race and college students power. The issue ends with comments on the band Santana and its cultural roots as well as poetry by Noelle Wright.
2. August/September 1972 description and interpretation. what would you say about the cover?
Description: The Aspect magazine might look tiny and small, but it’s filled with art and poetry that’s deep and full of details. The cover of this Aspect issue is not really clear, there are people on the cover that looks like they are working on a project, I’d say an issue of the magazine. The artwork is not clear but worth taking a moment to appreciate. On the cover you will also find the price of the issue which is 50 cents. This issue contains 32 pages. The August-September issue was co-edited by Seamus Finn, Geoffrey Clark, Edward J. Hogan, Paulette Carroll & the cover photo was photographed by Caroline McAllister from California.
The issue contains articles, essays as well as short poems. Essays was written by Seamus Finn, Sen Jean Alice Smith, Geoffrey Clark & Edward J. Hogan. While poems was written by contributors like Bill Meissner, Richard Latta, Emilie Glen & Molly Beck; as the Aspect magazines welcomes photographs, poems, drama, cartoons & illustrations from anyone who thinks their work is good as well as the more experienced people, “if you have done it and you like it, send it to Aspect” as written on the magazine’s last page. They welcome beginning writers just to have a new perspective and different point of views to the magazine, “ An exchange of views is encouraged” as the magazine says.
The co-editor and publisher, Ed Hogan wrote a note for the readers in that issue explaining why the next issue will be postponed, he’ll be out of state working as a coordinator for the MoGovern campaign for the elections. He promises the readers that when he comes back, there will be two combined issues of the magazine, October and November and after that they will get back to their monthly schedule.
He mentioned that the next issue will be filled with some nice work that readers will enjoy. He finishes his note with “Peace to you.”
Edward J. Hogan launched the first issue of the Aspect magazine in 1969 magazine, it featuring social and political commentary by a small group of university students and afterwards, poetry and other topics were included.
Notes toward a revised final description: step one is description:
The cover is a photograph by Caroline McAllister. The photograph shows a rock band on a stage from behind looking out over an audience
The issue includes four essays, “The Rich are Different From you and Me Alright,” by Seamus Finn, “Hair of the Dog,” by Geoffrey Clark, “John F. Kennedy: An End and a Beginning,” by Edward J. Hogan, and “Against the New Morality,” by Paulette Carroll.
The second section titled “Poetry” includes ten poems.
The sequence of table of contents does not match the sequence of the items in the issue. The essay by Seamus Finn is followed by two poems, Eric Cashen’s “World Affairs,” “Sightseeing” by Wilson Stapleton, “Three Children on a Dark Road,” by Nancy Shattuck, “The Fall Hunter,” by Bill Meisner, and an untitled poem by Richard Latta.
The short fiction “Hair of Dog” by Geoffrey Clark is followed by “The Overcoat,” by Emilie Glen, “Grasshopper,” by Molly Beck, an untitled two-page poem by Sandy M. Beck is printed landscape orientation, and Sally S. Anderson’s poem “The Builders.”
The nonfiction essay “John F. Kennedy: An End and a Beginning,” by Edward J. Hogan, is then followed by Brian A. Connolly’s poem “The Barn Board.” The final essay, “Against the New Morality,” is by Senator Jean Alice Smith of Arkansas. The essay is reprinted from the October 1971 issue of Gentlemen At Home.
The issue includes a “Small Presses/Received” section. Describe the three, 1 sentence each
A note by the co-editor and publisher, Ed Hogan, “Please Take Note,” alerts readers that work as the coordinator for the McGovern campaign will delay the next issue of the journal and promises that the next combined issue will appear in October/November.
Project Design Workshop: we will design together the work ahead.
1 Begin with our Reading. (Adrienne Rich,”these are the materials”).
2. Blog Post For Splendor, For Extent
3 examples of work that will help us determine where we are in the course, and where we might go together in the coming weeks:
Blog Charrette: Review of blog annotations
Process Writing Redux: On Thinking and Making a Public Voice
Digital Humanities Initiatives at Keene State College: The Aspect Magazine Project Below is a description of the context for your work on this digital humanities project, instructions for creating metadata using a modified version of the Dublin Core, and a template for your contribution to this project. You will use the template to abstract relevant information from the issue(s) of the journal you choose. In addition, you are required to write about your experiences working on the Aspect project. The two most recent blog posts on the Open Space of Democracy, “Two Jobs of Work” and “The Little Magazine,” offer some context for writing a blog post about your experiences.
Welcome to the Archive: The Dublin Core The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set is a vocabulary of fifteen properties for use in resource description. The name “Dublin” comes from a 1995 workshop in Dublin, Ohio; the word “core” refers to broad and generic elements, usable for describing a wide range of resources. The original Dublin Core Metadata Element Set consists of 15 metadata elements: Title, Creator, Subject, Description, Publisher, Contributor, Date, Type, Format, Identifier, Source, Language, Relation, Coverage, Rights. The Library of Congress has a Guidelines for Use of Dublin Core, taken from the University of Chicago Library Project, that explains each of the Dublin Core elements. The fifteen elements of the “Dublin Core” are part of a larger set of metadata vocabularies and technical specifications maintained by the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI).
The Aspect Magazine Metadata Template Below is a modified version of the Dublin Core that we will be using this week. Please use this Aspect Magazine Metadata Template for the issue(s) of the journal you have chosen.
Name of Student Commentator Your name
Description: The name of the resource. Use the following format: Aspect Magazine vol. 10, issue 54, January-February, 1974
Creators list The name(s) of the editor(s) of the issue
Contributors A list of all authors in the case of written documents, artists, photographers, or illustrators in the case of visual resources.
Date Month and Year in following Format: 10-1973
Publisher The publishing house, a university department, or a corporate entity. In this case use the following: Aspect/ Zephyr Press
Description A concise textual description of the content of the resource. Your work is to describe the object and abstract all of the relevant information in the issue of the journal. Describe the artifact. The cover. Table of contents. Work included (written texts, genre(s), art) by title. Other sections or materials. The back cover. The writing needs to be precise. We will edit the descriptions together to get them right.
Subject We will use standard disciplines in the following format: American Politics | Literature in English, North America | United States History. Each document you create will be indexed in the Digital Commons as part of the American Politics Commons, Literature in English, North America Commons, and the United States History Commons.
Recommended Citation Hogan, Edward J.; Bacon, Carla; Canfield, Brett K.; Chomin, Linda A.; Creighton, Jane; Curtis, Howard; Fallis, L.S.; Felderman, Eric; Fried, Elliot; Glen, Emilie; Hamilton, Fritz; Hayward, Ingeborg; Klein, James; Knight, Arthur; Neeld, Judy; Pinsley, Robert; Porter, Ed; Segaloff, Jean; Swets, R.D.; Talen, William; Unger, Barbara; and Mulligan (Student Commentator), Danielle, “Aspect Magazine vol. 10, issue 52, September-October, 1973” (1973). Aspect Magazine. Book 8.
As promised, Kenneth Burke, in his 1941 book The Philosophy of Literary Form:
“Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.”
Project 1 Blogs and cultivating a point of view
English 201: Writing with Style The French Post: A French Girl Writing in English
Environmental Studies 363: Writing in an Endangered World An Endangered Earth-A Shared Home: Exploring the words of the environmental movement and Ramble on Rose: musin’ and ramblin’ on finding one’s place in the postmodern world
Project 2 The Aspect Magazine Project Contributing to a digital archive of a small but significant literary journal, Aspect magazine, published between 1969-1980. The Aspect Archive is designed for researchers, readers, writers, and students interested in the intellectual history of the New England region. As a scholarly resource, the archive increases access to the conversations and intellectual exchanges associated with the production of literature in New England among committed poets, artists and intellectuals.
Project 3 “There are roads to take when you think of your country” (Muriel Rukeyser)
Savannah cites John Dewey, from “Creative Democracy”:
“Intolerance, abuse, calling of names because of differences of opinion about religion or politics or business, as well as because of differences of race, color, wealth or degree of culture are treason to the democratic way of life.”
“A genuinely democratic faith in peace is faith in the possibility of conducting disputes, controversies and conflicts as cooperative undertakings in which both parties learn by giving the other a chance to express itself, instead of having one party conquer by forceful suppression of the other”
Exploring domains of experience and practice: not merely political or more obvious forms of civic local, regional, national engagement
Where else? Where does the experience and practice of democracy flourish? Where do we find conversation, empathy, equality, justice?
I really don’t like words like “artist” or “integrity” or “courage” or “nobility.” I have a kind of distrust of all those words because I don’t really know what they mean, any more than I really know what such words as “democracy” or “peace” or “peace-loving” or “warlike” or “integration” mean. And yet one is compelled to recognize that all these imprecise words are attempts made by us all to get to something which is real and which lives behind the words.
James Baldwin, “The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity”
Following Spring Break, Reading Doris Sommer, The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities and looking at theories and practice of socially engaged art
The cultural domain of poetry and poetics (is large, contains multitudes!)
Rukeyser Poems “Effort at Speech Between Two People” and “The Book of the Dead: The Road”
Adrienne Rich, from Dark Fields of the Republic: “What Kind of Times Are These,” “In Those Years,” “Deportations,” “And Now”
Art Practical exploring contemporary art and visual culture in the Bay Area: Issue 8.1 Art + Citizenship (Seven contributors consider how citizenship relates to cultural and political systems as they intersect with artistic practices, institutions, and diverse publics)
Brad Rassler’s Sustainable Play
Project sites The Natural and Cultural History of California
2.9 Conference Checklist
The list of tasks below is for work you have completed between January 17- February 14. If you have not completed these tasks, you need to do so. If you are having difficulties with any of these tasks (such as adding a creative commons license to your blog), please let me know. I’m ready to help!
The Word Press Blog
Create a Word Press Blog
Customize the blog header (if applicable)
Give the blog a title and a tagline
Compose a professional biographical statement: a 100-200 word description that represents you as a college student. If written in the first person on your blog, send a version written in the third person by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Choose a theme, review, revise, add widgets in sidebars or footers. Include a “Recent Posts” widget
Add pages: Add a page for your Tuesday process posts
Add an Image to your bio (for many of you this will be on your About page)
Experiment with using visual material in your posts (images, maps, diagrams, etc.)
Add a Links or Blogroll Widget (if you do not already have one) Delete default WP links that do not seem relevant or necessary. Add one or more Links in your textHighlight text > add a URL > save (or command + K on a Mac). Link to a text (de Tocqueville or another?)
Consider menus and menu categories to organize your links by type
Add a Creative Commons License to your blog
Tag each post with at least three tags
Create categories (if appropriate and useful)
Identify and experiment with digital writing: style, visual elements, etc
Reading and Annotation
Set up an account on Hypothes.is
Annotate! Use of Marginalia, annotation, explication, analysis, interpretation on “Democratic Vistas and other texts in “Open Space of Democracy” Hypothes.is Group
The Tuesday process posts should migrate to a page when you post your revised version on Sunday.
Each of the revised versions below should have no fewer than three tags, a “kick ass” title. Please include a date when you post the final version. You can add this at the beginning or at the end of the post
Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America (Tuesday January 24)
Revised Version (Sunday January 29)
Walt Whitman Democratic Vistas (Tuesday February 1)
Revised version (Sunday February 5)
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Adrienne Rich, Terry Tempest Williams: Commencement(s) and/or convocation(s) (Tuesday February 7)
Revised Version (Sunday February 12)
Adrienne Rich, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, and/or Alan Ginsberg (others?) Poetry and Democracy (Tuesday February 14)
1.26 Emerson and Whitman on the term culture
from Ralph Waldo Emerson “The American Scholar” (1838)
“Men such as they are, very naturally seek money or power; and power because it is as good as money, — the “spoils,” so called, “of office.” And why not? for they aspire to the highest, and this, in their sleep-walking, they dream is highest. Wake them, and they shall quit the false good, and leap to the true, and leave governments to clerks and desks. This revolution is to be wrought by the gradual domestication of the idea of Culture. The main enterprise of the world for splendor, for extent, is the upbuilding of a man. Here are the materials strown along the ground. The private life of one man shall be a more illustrious monarchy, — more formidable to its enemy, more sweet and serene in its influence to its friend, than any kingdom in history. For a man, rightly viewed, comprehendeth the particular natures of all men. Each philosopher, each bard, each actor, has only done for me, as by a delegate, what one day I can do for myself. The books which once we valued more than the apple of the eye, we have quite exhausted. What is that but saying, that we have come up with the point of view which the universal mind took through the eyes of one scribe; we have been that man, and have passed on. First, one; then, another; we drain all cisterns, and, waxing greater by all these supplies, we crave a better and more abundant food. The man has never lived that can feed us ever. The human mind cannot be enshrined in a person, who shall set a barrier on any one side to this unbounded, unboundable empire. It is one central fire, which, flaming now out of the lips of Etna, lightens the capes of Sicily; and, now out of the throat of Vesuvius, illuminates the towers and vineyards of Naples. It is one light which beams out of a thousand stars. It is one soul which animates all men.
from “Culture” from The Conduct of Life (1860, rev. 1876)
“Culture is the suggestion from certain best thoughts, that a man has a range of affinities, through which he can modulate the violence of any master-tones that have a droning preponderance in his scale, and succor him against himself. Culture redresses his balance, puts him among his equals and superiors, revives the delicious sense of sympathy, and warns him of the dangers of solitude and repulsion.”
from Walt Whitman, “Democratic Vistas” (1871)
“We have frequently printed the word Democracy. Yet I cannot too often repeat that it is a word the real gist of which still sleeps, quite unawaken’d, notwithstanding the resonance and the many angry tempests out of which its syllables have come, from pen or tongue. It is a great word, whose history, I suppose, remains unwritten, because that history has yet to be enacted. . . .”
“We find ourselves abruptly in close quarters with the enemy. This word Culture, or what it has come to represent, involves, by contrast, our whole theme, and has been, indeed, the spur, urging us to engagement. Certain questions arise. As now taught, accepted and carried out, are not the processes of culture rapidly creating a class of supercilious infidels, who believe in nothing? Shall a man lose himself in countless masses of adjustments, and be so shaped with reference to this, that, and the other, that the simply good and healthy and brave parts of him are reduced and clipp’d away, like the bordering of box in a garden? You can cultivate corn and roses and orchards—but who shall cultivate the mountain peaks, the ocean, and the tumbling gorgeousness of the clouds? Lastly—is the readily-given reply that culture only seeks to help, systematize, and put in attitude, the elements of fertility and power, a conclusive reply?”
“I do not so much object to the name, or word, but I should certainly insist, for the purposes of these States, on a radical change of category, in the distribution of precedence. I should demand a programme of culture, drawn out, not for a single class alone, or for the parlors or lecture-rooms, but with an eye to practical life, the west, the working-men, the facts of farms and jack-planes and engineers, and of the broad range of the women also of the middle and working strata, and with reference to the perfect equality of women, and of a grand and powerful motherhood. I should demand of this programme or theory a scope generous enough to include the widest human area. It must have for its spinal meaning the formation of a typical personality of character, eligible to the uses of the high average of men—and not restricted by conditions ineligible to the masses. “
1.19 Terms (and Relations)
“Speaking in confidence, for I should not like to have my words repeated to the tragedians and the rest of the imitative tribe—but I do not mind saying to you; that all poetical imitations are ruinous to the understanding of the hearers, and that the knowledge of their true nature is the only antidote to them.”
-Book III Socrates to Adeimantus, Plato, Book X Republic
“let them show not only that she is pleasant but also useful to States and to human life, and we will listen in a kindly spirit”
-Socrates to Glaucon, Plato, Book X Republic
Open. Space. Democracy. Open Space. Open Space of Democracy. Democratic Culture. Culture. Democratic Art. Aesthetics. Democratic Aesthetics. Art. Social Art. Socially Engaged Art. . . .
“I say that democracy can never prove itself beyond cavil, until it founds and luxuriantly grows its own forms of art, poems, schools, theology.”
“I should demand a programme of culture, drawn out, not for a single class alone, or for the parlours or lecture rooms, but with an eye toward practical life. . . . I should demand of this programme or theory a scope generous enough to include the widest human area”
-Walt Whitman, “Democratic Vistas” (1871)
“Democracy is a way of life controlled by a working faith in the possibilities of human nature.”
“Intolerance, abuse, calling of names because of differences of opinion about religion or politics or business, as well as because of differences of race, color, wealth or degree of culture are treason to the democratic way of life.”
-John Dewey, “Creative Democracy” (1939)
“We repudiate so-called easel art and all such art which springs from ultra-intellectual circles, for it is essentially aristocratic. We hail the monumental expression of art because such art is public property.”
-David Alfaro Siqueiros
“All Art, inasmuch as it is created to be communicated to or experienced by others, is social. Yet to claim that all art is social doe snot take us very far in understanding the difference between a static work such as a painting and a social interaction that proclaims itself as art–that is, socially engaged art”
-Pablo Helguera, Education for Socially Engaged Art (2011)
Art: What is art? (this is an interesting question). Consider On Thinking and Making, a blog post that explains and links to a series of examples of creative work that were part of an introductory American Studies course on the natural and cultural history of California. one example: the open space of the desert defined as a place (“The Mohave”) that is in part defined by cultural history: a place as site for, defined by, and shaping culture(s).Social interactions, practices, community traditions are 1) represented (symbolic) or 2) practiced.
- Social Mural Movement
- Two recent projects of Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint: Microbial Selfies and The School of Live Culture
1.17 Opening Questions
What is democracy? What ideas (and ideals) to we associate with the word democracy? In what ways do we define democratic culture? What can we say about creativity and aesthetic engagement in a participatory democracy? What might be the differences between representing and practicing culture? How do diverse forms of cultural work register the persistent aspirations and inescapable contradictions of democratic experience in the United States? Does the “open space” of a political democracy shape the conditions for building a democratic culture? Does the cultural work of artistic practice shape the culture of political democracy? In what ways do (might) artists construct meaningful exchanges and experiences, distinctive vocabularies, through socially engaged practice? Is there a relationship between socially engaged art and civic agency? How do traditional institutional practices of museums and curation define the exchange between artists, the practice of art, and democratic culture? How do participatory and collaborative art projects generate educational or reflective opportunities for members of local communities?