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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2017-18

MALS 273 Frankfurt School Cultural Theory

The course will explore the Frankfurt School’s reading of European modernity in conjunction with the central cultural and artistic movements of its time. We will read theoretical texts by Kracauer, Benjamin, Adorno, and Horkheimer alongside the modernist cultural products upon which they reflect, from literature to the visual arts, film, and photography. The course will seek to come to terms with the Frankfurt School’s understanding of mass culture in urban modernity; its insights into the nature of perception under the conditions of new media; its reflections on religion, art, and the politics of fascism; and its contributions to modernist cultural forms, from montage techniques to the thought-image. We will practice central methods of cultural studies and intellectual history by situating cultural material in its historical context, assessing and evaluating theoretical interventions, and analyzing the medial and generic qualities of aesthetic forms. Requirements: Active participation in seminar discussions; one oral presentation; and a 15–20 page seminar paper.


Michael McGillen