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ART_HIST 101: First Year Writing Seminar: The Art of Propaganda (SP24 Kacsor)



What is “propaganda” and how can we differentiate it from “art”? Do all forms of art with a political message necessarily fall into the category of propaganda? And can abstract art become a tool of political persuasion? Is propaganda merely about political manipulation or would commercial advertisement also count as visual propaganda? From mass-produced World War II posters to TikTok videos of social media influencers, from Soviet propaganda movies to Pablo Picasso’s iconic Guernica (1937), this course will put diverse examples of modern and contemporary art and visual culture to the test of propaganda. During this course students will learn and practice visual analysis, applying this critical skill to a broad range of visual media across mass culture and “high” art produced in the 20th and 21st centuries, including painting, posters, photography, film, monuments, architecture, clothing, and social media platforms. The course will include a class visit to the Art Institute, a film screening, as well as a walking tour around Evanston.

Image text from 1984, George Orwell