Open to Gallatin first-year students only.
What makes boredom interesting? How have writers, thinkers, and artists sought to represent, elevate, and interpret the mundane? Considering that most of life is consumed by unspectacular moments, shouldn’t we have a clearer understanding of how and what these moments mean? What do recent movements like hyperrealism, maximalism, Dadaism, the avant-garde, and hysterical realism tell us about our evolving fascination with life’s routine? This course investigates the complex history and poetics of the mundane as it has been represented in art and literature across a wide-range of epochs, mediums, and traditions. Beginning with philosophical assessments of the everyday, including phenomenology, existentialism, and post-modernism, we will focus our exploration on novelists, poets, photographers, and filmmakers whose work reveals the overlooked and under-thought aspects of daily living that in fact make up life itself. Artists and writers will include: Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Andy Warhol, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Richard Linklater, Slavoj Zizek, Matt Siber, Kenneth Goldsmith, and Jacques Prevert, among others. In addition to these Western perspectives, we will examine the work of modern Arabic poet Amjad Nasser, Japanese filmmaker Koreeda Hirakazu, Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz, and traditional folk music from Bosnia and Kosovo. Students will write three shorter essays and one final research essay of approximately 8-12 pages.
First-Year Program: Research Seminars (FIRST-UG)