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Punk Aesthetics

Semester and Year SU 2019
Course Number IDSEM-UG1778
Section 001
Instructor Joshua Shirkey
Days MW
Time 5:30 PM - 8:45 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   HUM


Session II: July 8 - August 18.


Although punk seemed to be non- or even anti-aesthetic, it has paradoxically proven to be among the most significant artistic phenomena of the last half century. The western aesthetic tradition is based in notions of beauty and conformity to official standards; this course asks, therefore, whether a movement or sensibility that took pride in the ugly, offensive, and outlaw can even be called aesthetic. If not, and given punk's influence on contemporary art, then what relevance does aesthetics hold for us today? Of particular interest is the politics of aesthetics, and the forum which punk provided for expressing racial, sexual, gender, and class differences that were traditionally held to be outside of both society and art. Readings will include aesthetic philosophy, both traditional (Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche) and modern (Brecht, Debord, Adorno & Horkheimer), as well as critical theory of the period (Baudrillard, Jameson, Hebdige). These will be considered in dialogue with works of music, visual art, film, literature, graphic design, and fashion from the punk milieu of the 1970s and 1980s, and with historical precursors who influenced or shared punk's aesthetic worldview (Sade, Goya, Rimbaud, Duchamp).


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)