This course raises historical questions about the role of art in democracy. What role has art played in defining America, its history and citizens? How has government support for the arts shaped and reflected changing attitudes about democracy? Students will explore a variety of legal, philosophical, moral and political arguments for the place and importance of art and architecture in their hometowns and in American society.
The course meets for two lectures and one discussion section per week. Requirements typically include two exams, four written responses to reading assignments, three two- to three-page writing assignments completed in conjunction with an in-class presentation and two group projects, readings and participation in classroom discussions. Within small groups, students will stage debates over landmark controversies surrounding freedom of expression and government support for the arts, and the various proposals for rebuilding Ground Zero and creating a monument to the victims of September 11, 2001. Students will also report on civic buildings and public monuments of their choice, in Bloomington and elsewhere, producing case studies that combine research with first-hand observation.
Your final grade will consist of the midterm and final exams, writing assignments, group projects and in-class presentations. Participation in class discussions will also be taken into consideration.