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ARTH 384 Theories of Representation: Art & Activism Online and on the Streets

  • Mondays, 11:45am - 2:15pm
  • EV 1.605
  • Instructor: Dr. Reilley Bishop-Stall

This course will examine art and activism primarily in Canada and the United States from the 1960s to the current moment, but with specific focus on the 21st century. Art and activism have always been intertwined. The introduction of the Internet and the rise of social media have radically altered activism and, by extension, activist art. This course will investigate the impact of changing technologies and social structures on protest movements, preservation initiatives and social justice campaigns by looking specifically at their accompanying art and imagery. Although the course has a contemporary focus, many of the events and artworks covered will be historically contextualized and examined in relation to prior events and representational histories. Through a series of thematic lectures, students will engage with some of the most prominent and ongoing protest and activist movements of recent decades: Climate and environmental activism; Indigenous rights and land protection; Black Lives Matter; #MeToo; gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights. Students will be exposed to activist art of all kinds, including performance, installation, documentary and experimental film, as well as photography, pictorial and new media art. Specific attention will be paid to the role of social media and digital connectivity to the production and dissemination of activist art and imagery. In addition to the art and information produced by activists and allies this course will also investigate the representation and framing of protest movements and social justice initiatives in the media. 

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