West European Studies | Paris and Berlin in the 1920ís
W605 | 4202 | Pace

Prof D. Pace   1:00-2:15p   TR   WH 101
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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 has shaped our way of viewing
the world ever since.  Using in-class films and images extensively
augmented by original sources on the internet, we explore this era,
focusing on the artists and intellectuals who produced this rich
cultural heritage.  In the first part of the course we 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 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 politization 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
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 the opportunity to experience
first-hand the vibrant writing, films and images of the period. For
more information on this course, please check the website at: