The Experience of Spectacle in Contemporary Society
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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: NHUM 3107
Course Format: Lecture
Location: Online
Permission Required: No
We look at the phenomenon of spectacle from diverse but interrelated perspectives and try to understand what is at work in our "spectacular experiences." As we read from authors such as Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Artaud, and Debord, we try to understand what spectacle is, its dynamics, and its sign language. Is spectacle what a culture considers worthy of collective representation? If so, how does an artistic spectacle such as film differ from other types of spectacles such as sports? As we pose these questions and others, we examine various pertinent issues: imagination (the beautiful and the sublime), ecstasy-participation, technology, feelings and catharsis (violence and discharge of emotions), the unconscious and transference (individual and collective), and alienation. The course is designed to be interactive; our readings are blended with our everyday experiences of spectacle. We view multimedia works and film and discuss them in light of the theories covered in class.
Course Open to: Degree Students