Fall 2011 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Cohen, Milton
Discipline and Number
HUMA 3300 Section 001
MW Time 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
Course Title
Reading and Writing Texts

Description of Course:

This introductory course to the School of Arts and Humanities devotes a semester to answering the question “What is Modernism?” Not simply a style, a period, or a movement, modernism was a revolutionary upheaval that swept through all the Western arts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, subverting centuries-old traditions regarding form, content, and the artist’s relation to society.

Although we don’t have time to encompass all the arts, we will study modernist painting, music, poetry, and fiction. We will begin with formalist revolutions, asking “What is a modernist painting?” “What is a modernist poem?” etc. The course then considers revolutions in theme and content and ends by studying the confrontational relationship between the artist and society.

Required Texts:

Christopher Butler, Early Modernism: Literature, Music and Painting in Europe 1900-1916 (Oxford U. Press)
Milton A. Cohen, Movement, Manifesto, Melee: the Modernist Group, 1910-1914
(Lexington Books)
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
Strindberg, Two Plays
packet of readings

music selections on Naxos data base (through McDermott Library)
painting selections on ArtStor data base (through McDermott Library) or in texts or packet; see list following Syllabus for specific works

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Students will write two 5-6 page papers. One will be an analysis on a modernist painting, poem, or musical composition; the other will discuss a modernist work in a particular context: historical, philosophical, avant-gardist (a group or movement), etc. (60% of grade). Students will also write six 1-2 pp. reaction papers on assigned works and works at the DIA or performed locally. These reaction papers will count as part of class participation (40% of grade).

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