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First-Year Research Seminar: Money and the Muse: Culture, Creativity, and Capitalism

Semester and Year SP 2017
Course Number FIRST-UG783
Section 001
Instructor Trevor Laurence Jockims
Days MW
Time 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Units 4
Level U


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


This course is focused on the interactions between culture, creativity, and capitalism in America over the last fifty years, though we will place this relationship within a wider historical and theoretical context. Beginning with the patronage system that made the Renaissance possible, extending all the way up to crowd sourcing today, our analysis will track the aesthetic and cultural impact money has had over the arts. Our aim is to understand money and its metaphors within artistic, philosophic, and cultural spheres. We will investigate not only how the means of production have changed over the last fifty years, with special emphasis on the movement toward individual producer-consumers, but also, crucially, we will examine works of art and literature that take money as an object of thought and investigation. This element—the examination of works overtly about money and its meanings—will make up a substantial element of the course, and will service as the grounds where our more theoretical investigations become concretized. Conceptual artists and writers will receive particular attention, including Justine Smith’s money-sculptures, Mark Wagner’s currency-collages, Lyn Hejinian’s  My Life in the Nineties,  Charles Bernstein’s  My/My/My , and Matthew Timmons’s  Credit.  We will also consider Andy Warhol’s Factory model, Don Delillo’s  Cosmopolis,  and Fyodor Doestoevsky’s  Crime and Punishment.  Zlavoj Zizek, Theodor Adorno, Bernard Steigler and other theorists will provide organizing principles and a working language for our investigations.


All Syllabi

Course Type

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