ENGL4875: Aesthetics and Politics (49624)

Morales-Franceschi, Eric

MWF 4 :10 PM

Park Hall 250

ENGL 4875 Aesthetics and Politics

This course explores the ways in which beauty, pleasure, and the sublime have aided and abed emancipatory politics.  It strives, in other words, to illuminate how one makes revolution “irresistible,” to quote Toni Cade Bambara’s artistic credo.  We will first read a selection of theoretical essays and, thereafter, survey a few case studies, to include but not limited to: the Black Panthers, the Young Lords, the Cuban Revolution, Third Cinema, theater of the oppressed, and the Zapatistas.  In doing so, we will draw on a variety of mediums and genres, to include poetry, manifestoes, posters, song, film, and photography.  Each case study or artifact will be situated in its historical and ideological context and each will be read closely for what possibilities it bespeaks and what lessons it has to offer us in our tumultuous present.  


Herbert Marcuse, Essay on Liberation

Susan Sontag, “The Art of Revolution”

Jacques Ranciere, Dissensus  

Elaine Scarry. On Beauty and Being Just 

Fernando Solanas & Octavio Getino, “Towards a Third Cinema”

Augosto Boal, Theater of the Oppressed

Essays or chapters by: Jennifer Ponce de León, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, and Colette Gaiter.

Also: the art of Beatriz Aurora, Emory Douglass, Alfredo Rostgaard; photography of Alberto Korda and Hiram Mirastany; documentary films of Santiago Alvarez and Third World Newsreel; and the poetry of heidi andrea restrepo rhodes (who will join us for a guest lecture/visit!).