Reading & Composition
Playing War: Animation, Film, and Performance in Militarized Cultures
Across time, geographies, and cultures, artists have been driven to reflect on militarization and war. What does war do? How do soldiers, police, civilians, children, and governments become militarized? What role do artists play in militarized cultures? Can art find a way to illuminate or make transparent the motives, the drives, and the deeper circumstances of war? In this course we will examine how the arts are deployed in times of war, in militarized zones, in postwar commemorations, and in future fantasy wars. We will analyze "performance" in diverse militarized cultures through the multi-disciplinary technologies of animation, film, new media, dance, and theatre. Through these different media, visual and literary, popular and classic, from several different cultures and states, we will consider how artists choose to deal with the many conditions of oppression, terrorism, and enslavement through their medium in their contexts. We will pay close attention to gender and racial injustices while we question the roles of art works and artists who support, critique, confront, or romanticize acts of war and militarization by dominant powers. We will consider how a nation or culture uses "documentary" and "dramatic" and "fantastic" performance to re-enact, spectacularize, mediatize, and/or document acts of militarization, protest, oppression, glorification, and censorship. With the course focus on critical reading and analytic writing, we will investigate case studies with theoretical and contextual readings, which will be our tools for thinking critically, developing an argument, and writing analysis. Writing assignments will include short essays, a research paper, and a collective multi-media project.