Fall 2024

Monday, Wednesday

10:30 am - 11:45 am

CompLit 111X: Breaking Points: Art, Scholarship, and Social Movements

Matylda Figlerowicz

At certain times, it seems that things simply cannot continue as they have gone before. What then?

This course looks at some collective breaking points—moments when scholarly, artistic, and activist practices come together to respond to urgent sociopolitical crises. The concept of breaking points, on the one hand, refers to the collective experience of a pressing need for change. On the other hand, it speaks to formal experimentation––to practices that break genre conventions or theoretical frameworks. When the conventional forms of thought don’t serve us, how do we build new ones?

Throughout the course, we look at different breaking points, and at the forms of thought that arise from them. For instance, we trace the emergence of happenings and performance art, analyzing how they’re rooted in anti-war activism, and we discuss how Indigenous cultural practices create ways to analyze and stand up to colonialism and imperialism.

As a final project, the students will present a creative scholarly work, in which they experiment with formal boundaries, combining different genres or media.

In Person