Fine Arts | American Gothic (Topics in Modern Art)(GR only)
A540 | 15678 | Burns


This class will survey, analyze, and critique the expression of
fantasy, the supernatural, horror, the visionary, and the grotesque
in American culture and society from the early nineteenth century to
the present.  The range of material is interdisciplinary and extends
as well from “high” to “low.”  We will be looking at and discussing
paintings, caricature, architecture, classic novels and stories,
pulp fiction, biography, photography, movies, and the internet.  In
addition, we will investigate theories of the uncanny and of horror
as formulated by Sigmund Freud and Julia Kristeva.  Beginning with
an examination of forms and genres that fall into the “Gothic”
category, we will proceed to investigate where the Gothic fits into
(or falls out of) American culture, and what cultural work the
Gothic performs – and for whom, and why.  In particular, we will be
attempting to tease out and scrutinize the political, social,
racial, and sexual obsessions and anxieties that the Gothic more
often than not metaphorically contains.