UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH SPRING 2012
CLST 2050: CULTURAL STUDIES COMMON SEMINAR
HAA 2401: SPECIAL TOPICS IN CONTEMPORARY ART
CULTURAL FORMATION NOW:
CONTEMPORANEITY, CONNECTIVITY, PLANETARITY
Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory
Seminar Room, Frick Fine Arts Blg, Room 104
World picturing, placemaking, and the connectivities between them are processes that seem fundamental to contemporary culture. They certainly inspire many contemporary artists, and drive social media of all kinds. Yet their prominence raises a deeper question. If the contemporaneity of difference is, arguably, definitive of contemporary experience, is the tentative, embattled emergence of a planetary consciousness indicative of a more constructive possibility?
Towards the end of the last century, certain powerful models and effective images––especially those associated with the idea of “globalization”––achieved prominence in public debate, and drove much governmental policy, institutional action and market decision, while at the same time shaping the sense of self held by millions. Counter-forces arose: not least assertive national economies, anti-globalization movements, and spectacular fundamentalisms. All claimed universal, or at least region-wide, validity, and each has won the consent of multitudes. Yet they seem incompatible, and their fierce––at times deadly––contestation poses a danger to all. These forces––and the institutions and beliefs that they built (including those designed to contain their conflicting interests)––have spun into crisis. We have reached a situation in which the enriching multiplicity of distinct, different ways of imagining the world is contemporaneous with anxious awareness that the most prominent of these perspectives are incommensurable, that a framework able to bring them all into productive relationship has yet to be imagined, while the earth is signaling that the time to do so may be short.
This course will explore key conceptualizations of worlds, place and connection in modern and contemporary philosophy, critical theory, cultural studies, history, information theory, art, literature, film, mass media and social media with a view to assessing their contribution to a sharper definition of contemporaneity and a deeper imagining of planetarity. It will benefit from the seminars, workshops, exhibitions and conferences being organized by the “Defining Contemporaneity, Imagining Planetarity” project, being undertaken 2011-14 by scholars from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.
Terry Smith, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory
Complete Spring course list for Cultural Studies coming soon>>