HIS306: ART AND THE STATE

Explore the interplay between art and culture through works that have served as propaganda or as powerful agents of social change.

This course examines how history — and its conflicts — can be understood through the artistic objects that societies create. This course examines art from the 19th and 20th centuries, investigating how artistic creation has shaped and been shaped by diverse nations and cultures. Focusing on how visual art, music, architecture and urban planning interact with the world around them, we will analyze both how states support, mobilize and utilize art and architecture to communicate power and to construct cultural identity, and also how art can enable critique of the state. Students will use textual, visual and audio sources as they engage such questions. Topics of discussion will include: the construction of capital cities and royal courts to communicate political authority and cultural identity; the function of artistic objects as propaganda and as protest during times of conflict; and finally, specific sites of contestation that challenge established order and meaning. Open to lowers and uppers. Offered: spring term.