This course is part of the minor Visual Culture and Society.
LAS and TCS students who follow this course as part of the core curriculum of their major, need to complete a compulsory preparation course/assignment
. See for more information: https://tcs.sites.uu.nl/
About this course:
We often think the realm of art is worlds away from the realm of politics. In this course, however, we will discover how the two are intricately bound up with each other. Particularly during times of conflict, artists speak with a political voice and politicians, leaders and activists use art, and particularly visual culture, as a means of engaging with a larger population. Art functions as a symbol of the nation, a medium of propaganda and a forum for social and political critique.
In this course we will focus on art and politics in moments of crisis and situations of political and social conflict: war, revolution, repression, civil war and state terror. We will take a closer look at the visual arts during the First World War, the Third Reich and the Cold War, but also investigate traumatic encounters and more subtle entanglements of art and power during colonialism and the new imperialism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
We will touch upon themes such as historians and the ‘visual turn’, art and power, the politics of display, the individual artist and the collective, and the convergence and divergence of art and politics. The course uses forms of ‘high art’, for example paintings, architecture and exhibitions, but also includes a wider sense of visual culture, such as posters, press photographs and monuments. It starts from the premise that art cannot be understood without a solid understanding of its political, economic, social and cultural historical context.