L&S Curricular Connections

Big Ideas Courses

Letters and Science C138 / Music C138

Art and Activism

Arts and Literature

This course explores the intersections between aesthetic practice and social change. Students will investigate—in both theory and practice—the capacity of art making to cultivate transformation of themselves, their relationships, their practices, their institutions, and the larger economic and socio-political structures in which they function, locally and globally. Focusing on historical and contemporary artists and political issues, we ask: 1) How is art impacted by social change? 2) How has art been used toward social change? and 3) How can we, as course participants, use art to bring about social change? Rooted in interdisciplinary scholarship, students will engage theoretical debates and historical analyses regarding the role of the arts in social change and examine the particular capacities of the arts to negotiate across and between cultures, languages, and power-laden lines of difference. Taking a broad view of activism, we will consider the ways in which artistic practices foster radical imaginations that can expand our sense of the possible. Case studies will span media including visual arts, theater, dance, poetry/spoken word, literature, and music.

T. Carlis Roberts (Music)
Cecilia Lucas (Global Poverty and Practice)

Terms Offered

  • Fall 2021
  • Spring 2020
  • Spring 2019
  • Spring 2018
  • Fall 2016
  • Spring 2015