May 24, 2022  
Catalogue 2021-2022 
Catalogue 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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PHIL 240 - Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics

Semester Offered: Spring
1 unit(s)
This course examines 19th, 20th, and 21st century philosophical approaches to the question of art and aesthetics, specifically focusing on film and cinema. Taken by Horkheimer and Adorno to be akin to Richard Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwert (total work of art), film is understood to be the total work of art that synthesizes and incorporates all other forms of art. Given the dominance and preponderance of visual media, specifically film and cinematic works, and the almost scopic monopoly enforced upon the other forms of art (and therefore all our other senses), it is important to spend some time unpacking and unraveling what is at stake in the visual field. This course addresses this via the specific questions: what does film do, what is its work, and how do artists and the viewing public situate themselves around it. Finally, how does technology alter artistic production, distribution, and consumption? Rather than seeing film as one mode of art — the latecomer when compared to the other art forms — this course seeks to show how film re-orientates our relationship to the arts, generally, and how the questions film gestures towards implicate and complicate all the other forms of art. Assignments include: reading philosophical works and watching films; writing reviews and argument pieces (4-6 page papers); constructing video essays; making short podcast audio questions and responses; and, of course, class attendance and participation. Some of the philosophical schools and approaches encountered will include: psychoanalysis, feminist theory, ideology critique, afropessimism, black optimism, and ontological approaches. Osman Nemli.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-level philosophy course or the instructor’s permission.

Two 75-minute periods.

Course Format: CLS

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