Reconstructing Modernity

Subject Name: 

Humanities Arts Cultural Stu

Course Number: 
Hampshire College
This course will examine the art, architecture, and design of Europe and U.S. in the aftermath of the physical destruction and psychic devastation of World War II and the Holocaust. For many artists, architects and designers in the 1940s and 50s, it was essential that they address the sense of helpless tragedy that confronted and confounded them. After the war, this nihilistic vision infected and transformed the once-utopian visions of modernity. Attempts at re-writing the history of modernism, redefining political culture with a new urban consciousness and literally rebuilding the post-war world will be among the themes explored. We will consider: artists such as Wols, Dubuffet, Beuys, Bourgeois, Pollock, Rothko, and Newman; artists' groups such as CoBrA and the Situationists; architectural organizations such as Archigram and the Congres internationale d'architecture moderne (CIAM); films such as "The Rape of Europa" and "The Third Man"; photographers such as Cartier Bresson and Bourke-White; as well as schools such as Black Mountain College, the Ulm School, and the New Bauhaus in Chicago. The response of artists to WWII will be positioned against the philosophy and critical theory of Benjamin, Debord, Sartre, Adorno, and Arendt. We will conclude with a discussion of contemporary Holocaust memorials and memorialization. Students in this course will be expected to write a series of essays, to give group and individual presentations, and to write a final paper based on rigorous research. Prerequisite: any course in the history, art history, philosophy, or literature of the 20th century.

Writing and Research

Linked Course: 
Multiple required components--lab and/or discussion section. To register, submit requests for all components simultaneously.
Linked Course Comments: 

This course has unspecified prerequisite(s) - please see the instructor.

Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.
Schedule #: 

Course Sections

Reconstructing Modernity
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
1 4.0

Karen Koehler

12:30PM-03:20PM T

Franklin Patterson Hall ELH