Comparative Literature | Activist Artists in Popular Culture
C151 | 6261 | AI: Adrien Pouille

CMLT-C 151 (6261) “Activist Artists” in Popular Culture
*Fulfills A&H and Culture Studies requirements*

Instructor: Adrien Pouille  ~  TR 11:15-12:30

What is activism? When does an artist’s rhetoric become activist?
What factors lead an artist into becoming or involving in activist
actions? Are the artists free from cultural and political oppression?
How does the notion of artist vary from one culture to another? How
do today’s artists redefine their status? What effects do such
redefinitions have on their social, cultural and political
environments? How does popular culture fashion and refashion our
tastes and look on things and people?

In addition to the required readings, we will analyze how song
lyrics, interviews, documentaries, magazines, TV shows, newspaper and
video clips about internationally famous artists discussed in depth
address the questions raised above. This class will explore the
activist inclination and work of both American celebrities such as
Angelina Jolie, Bono, Don Cheadle, George Clooney and Madonna
alongside an international component that will allow us to compare
artist activism as it is lived in the US with the way it is
experienced in other parts of the globe.

Required texts:
But Is It Art? The Spirit of Art as Activism ---Nina Felshin
Fahrenheit 451 ---Ray Bradbury
Taboo Tunes:  A History of Banned & Censored Songs ---Peter Blecha
Not On Our Watch: The Mission To End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond ---
Don Cheadle and John Prendergast
Sozaboy---Ken Saro Wiwa