Open to Gallatin first-year students only.
This course is focused on the interactions between cultural production, individual creativity, and the market forces that impact them. Although centered on the contemporary, we will place this relationship within a wide historical and theoretical context and will make our considerations across a global frame of reference. Beginning with the patronage system that helped to make 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, philosophical, and cultural spheres. We will investigate not only how means of cultural production have changed, but also how the contemporary global capitalist superstructure has changed our relationship to cultural production and creativity. Special emphasis will be given to the contemporary movement toward individual producer-consumers, and we will centrally 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 serve as the grounds where our more theoretical investigations become concretized. Works by artists and writers across a global perspective will be pursued, including Justine Smith’s money-sculptures, Mark Wagner’s currency-collages, Lyn Hejinian’s My Life in the Nineties , Iva Pekárková’s Gimme the Money , among others. Slavoj Žižek, Theodor Adorno, Bernard Stiegler and other theorists will provide organizing principles and a working language for our investigations.
First-Year Program: Research Seminars (FIRST-UG)