INTR 307 Art and Justice (Same as ArtS 311 and Political Science 301) (Not offered 2004-2005) (W)

Although Plato dismissed painters as unreliable imitators who invariably lead viewers "far from the Truth," art has played an important role in the creation and transformation of political belief throughout human history. In this class, we focus on one particularly important element of that role, asking how the visual arts advance and hinder the pursuit of justice. Although our visual materials will be drawn from diverse periods, areas, media, and cultural traditions, we will pay special attention to recent and contemporary American art, particularly to public art and self-consciously political works that seek to contest prevailing institutions, norms, and social structures. The point of this examination, however, is to pursue broader and more fundamental questions about art, politics, and the relationship between them: How does one "read" an image and determine how it "works"? How do political actors and organizations use imagery to mold and mobilize opinion by those in power, those seeking power, and those struggling against existing political power? Are such uses inherently more manipulative than verbal arguments over policies and political principles? Or does art have important and distinctive ways of making our political imaginations more generous? Can art, that is, bring us closer to justice? And when we talk about justice, what do we mean by that? Authors and artists considered may include Arai, Arendt, Berger, Beuys, David, Duncan, Edelman, Ewen, Grand Fury, the Guerrilla Girls, Hall, Habermas, Kant, Kruger, Lacy, Luna, Nietzsche, Piper, Plato, Riefenstahl, Rockwell, Walker, Wodiczko and others. Format: seminar. Requirements: regular short written critical analyses, one long independent project, several hands-on visual projects (e.g., web design, political poster, studio work, etc.) Prerequisite: at least one course in political theory, philosophy, art history, studio art, American studies, or permission of instructors. Enrollment limit: 19 (expected: 18). Satisfies one semester of Division II requirement.