West European Studies | Paris & Berlin in the 1920's
W405 | 8560 | Pace

Meets TR 2:30-3:45P
Meets with HIST B366 and WEUR W605
Obtain online authorization from department

Between the end of the First World War and Hitler's seizure of power
there occurred in Paris and Berlin a cultural explosion that altered
our notions of art and reality and that have shaped our way of
viewing the world ever since.  Using in-class films and images
extensively augmented by original sources on the internet, we will
explore this era, focusing on the artists and intellectuals who
produced this rich cultural heritage.  In the first part of the
course we will consider the pre-1914 experiments of French artists
such as Henri Rousseau and Eric Satie, the assault of Dadist and
Surrealists on Western concepts of reality, and the theater of
Antonin Artaud.  Next we will move to Berlin to study the impact of
the First World War on German culture, the development of
Expressionism in painting and film, the new architecture of the
Bauhaus, the radical cultural experiments of figures such as George
Grosz and Bertolt Brecht, the politicization of German culture, and
the final victory of Nazi art.  In the third section of the course we
return to Paris to see the role that the American expatriates of the
1920s played in all of this creativity, focusing on John Dos Passos,
Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and Henry Miller.

At the end of each section of the course there will be a take-home
exam, as well as several smaller assignments.  In addition to their
individual work, students will work in teams to explore images and
texts from the period. Students without a strong grounding in modern
culture are encouraged to take the course, since they should emerge
with a good understanding of some of the most important aspects of
twentieth century culture.  Those who already have some knowledge of
the topic should be able to expand and deepen their grasp of the
period, and all students will have been able to experience at first
hand the vibrant writing, films and images of the period.

For more information on this course, please check the website at: