The Body: Aesthetics, Culture and Politics in the 20th Century

New School for Social Research: Liberal Studies

Liberal Arts
Graduate Course
Degree Students (with Restrictions)
The Body
Spring 2023
Taught By: Terri Gordon
Section: A

CRN: 13265

Credits: 3

“You do not realize how the headlines that make daily history affect the muscles of the human body,” the dancer Martha Graham once noted. This course examines the relationship between politics, social tensions, and cultural values and muscles, movement and skin, a relationship that has made the body one of the most visible signs of twentieth-century culture. We study deployments of the body in Europe and the United States, covering the historical and contemporary avant-garde; body culture and life reform movements; war and propaganda; and cabaret, dance, and performance art. How can we “read” the body? How do representations of the body reflect and support prevalent notions of race, gender, and nation? In what ways do images of the body critique and subvert cultural norms? We study literature, history, art and cultural documents, including articles in the press and political manifestoes. Fictional works by Hawthorne, Kafka, and Audre Lorde; art works by Frida Kahlo, Cindy Sherman, and Orlan; theoretical texts by Butler, Freud, Foucault, Sontag, and others. We also spend class time viewing painting, photography and performance art.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Liberal Studies (GLIB)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 13

Add/Drop Deadline: February 5, 2023 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2023 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 11:44am EDT 6/3/2023