Women in the Avant-Garde
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students
Department: Humanities
Course Number: NCST 4146
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Cultural Studies
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies
This course examines the pivotal role of women in the European avant-garde movements of the 20th century. Women are often seen as the models and muses of their male contemporaries in the groundbreaking movements of the 20th century. Yet they were also creators and pioneers in their own right. In this course, we study the multiple ways in which women contributed to the 20th-century vanguard, the personal and political stakes involved in forging new territory in art and culture; the pain and suffering that often attended their revolutionary efforts; and the artistic legacies they have left. Themes include the nexus of art and politics, sexuality and gender violence, war and madness, and suffering and creativity. We study Italian futurism, German expressionism, Dada, surrealism, and other movements at the vanguard of European culture, politics, and art. The course covers the literary genres of poetry, prose and drama and the artistic genres of painting, photography, collage and photomontage. We also read “founding” documents, such as manifestoes and political tracts. Writers and artists include Leonora Carrington, Mina Loy, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Claude Cahun, Hannah Höch, Frida Kahlo, and Unica Zürn. Theoretical texts by André Breton, F.T. Marinetti, Tristan Tzara, and Walter Benjamin.
Course Open to: Degree Students