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First-Year Writing Seminar: Aesthetics on Trial

Semester and Year FA 2017
Course Number FIRST-UG319
Section 001
Instructor Christopher Trogan
Days TR
Time 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Units 4
Level U


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


While cultures often like to see themselves reflected in the arts, groundbreaking art is frequently accompanied by controversy. In literature, Nabokov was faced with charges of obscenity. In photography, Mapplethorpe challenged the role of the visual arts as innocent representation. In film, Riefenstahl blurred the line between art and propaganda by directing for Hitler while Pasolini directed what still remains one of the most shocking films in cinematic history. Through critical writing focused on specific case studies we will investigate such key questions as: Could there be a great work of art that is morally flawed? What is the relationship, if any, between aesthetic and moral values? What, after all, are aesthetic and moral values? Three shorter essays and a longer literary-critical paper are required. Texts may include selections from Plato, David Hume, Vladimir Nabokov, as well as contemporary writers such as Arthur Danto, Berys Gaut, Kendall Walton, and Michael Tanner.


All Syllabi

Course Type

First-Year Program: Writing Seminars (FIRST-UG)