Mass Culture, Counterculture, Avant-Garde

Mass culture, according to its many critics, consists of shallow forms of entertainment that commodify and erase “authentic” modes of cultural expression. Whether members of the avant-garde or the counterculture, whether on the right or on the left, critics of mass culture have ignored its creative, world-making capacities, seeking instead to build authentic, unmediated lives outside of the pop sensibilities of their times. Analyzing a variety of pop cultural artifacts alongside the political, artistic, and academic critiques of mass culture produced by both the left and the right, this course explores mass culture and its multifaceted discontents over the course of the long twentieth century. While focused mainly on twentieth-century Europe, the course will make occasional forays into global history. Meets the Critical Learning: AIM requirement. (Not offered 2022-23).

Degree requirement — Critical Learning: AIM

1 unit

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