ENGL 125
Theater and Politics Fall 2018 Division I; Writing-Intensive; Cross-listed as ENGL125 / THEA125

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This seminar traces the surprisingly close and controversial relationship between theater and politics from ancient Greek tragedy to modern literature, contemporary film and philosophy. When Plato kicked off political philosophy by outlining his ideal city-state, one of his first moves was to ban theatrical performance on the grounds that play-acting would make men poor governors of themselves. In more recent times, however, the work of artists and playwrights as diverse as Bertolt Brecht and Antonin Artaud have provocatively suggested that theater itself could remedy the ills that Plato thought it caused. In today’s age of global spectatorship, writers, artists, and activists continue to ask: who are the real actors and spectators of today’s digital world-stage, when governments and other powerful institutions have increasingly sophisticated tools for gathering information about and controlling the on-looking masses, but revolutions are nevertheless organized via social media or triggered by cell phone images? May include works by Plato, Euripides, Melville, Woolf, Rancière, and Claire Denis.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1644
Requirements/Evaluation: three papers and a portfolio of interpretive questions, totaling 20 pages of written work
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: first-year students who have not taken or placed out of a 100-level ENGL course
Distributions: Division I; Writing-Intensive;

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