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The Art of Revolution

ENGL 1180.401
also offered as: CIMS 1280/COML 1180/GSWS 1180/LALS 1180/THAR 1180
MW 1:45-3:14pm

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.” 

  • Bertolt Brecht 


This course offers an international and multidisciplinary tour of revolutionary art from the 20th and 21st centuries, including cinema, literature, visual art, theater, and performance art. It focuses on art practices that have emerged from and contributed to Left political movements, including socialist movements, struggles for national liberation from colonial and imperialist domination, and movements for sexual liberation and against racism and sexism. Particular attention will be given to thinkers and movements from the Global South and to experimental art practices. Students will learn about the cultural politics of revolutionary movements and will gain skills in analyzing a wide array of art forms. The course will also introduce crucial theories and debates about relationships between aesthetics and politics, the role of artists and other intellectuals in political struggle, and the way the culture industries attempt to control what artists make and who it reaches. Students will develop and present their own creative project as part of the course assignments. No previous knowledge of these topics or experience in making art is required.


English Major Requirements
  • Sector 2 Difference and Diaspora (AEDD)
  • Sector 6 20th & 21st Centuries (AE20)
English Concentration Attributes
  • 20th-21st Century Concentration (AE21)
  • Drama Concentration (AEDR)
  • Theory & Cultural Studies Concentration (AETC)
College Attributes