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First-Year Writing Seminar: Collage: From Art to Life and Back

Semester and Year FA 2018
Course Number FIRST-UG361
Section 001
Instructor Eugene Vydrin
Days MW
Time 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Units 4
Level U


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


This writing seminar will explore the implications of making the new from the ready-made, of constructing one’s own from what was—and remains—somebody else's. Collage aims at reintegrating art and life, so we will examine collage works that comment on existing society, critique its values and forms of representation and demand their revision. By selecting heterogeneous elements from remote areas of culture, high and low, and juxtaposing them on a single plane, collage disrupts conventional associations and traditional narratives, collapses oppositions, scrambles classifications, and levels hierarchies. What new meanings do the fragments and quotations acquire from these radical juxtapositions, and how does their assemblage contest the mythologies of the culture from which they were taken? The class will consist of several case studies in visual and verbal collage placed in relation to a set of political and aesthetic ideas, which we will derive from a series of theoretical texts. Theorists may include Roland Barthes, Viktor Shklovsky, John Berger, Marjorie Perloff, Rosalind Krauss, Dawn Ades, Peter Bürger, and Dick Hebdige. Collages may include visual artworks by Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Hannah Höch, Romare Bearden, and Robert Rauschenberg, as well as poetry by T. S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, and Susan Howe.


All Syllabi

Course Type

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