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Moscow/Berlin: Socialist Modernity and the Transnational Avant-Garde
CHUM 321
Spring 2020
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: REES 321, GRST 221, RULE 321, RUSS 321, WLIT 341

The October Revolution of 1917 in Russia and the November Revolution of 1918 in Germany ushered in an era of imagining and building an anti-capitalist world based on the ideals of universal equality, freedom, and comradeship. Between World War I and World War II, Soviet Moscow and Weimar Berlin developed into centers of the international leftist movement that was committed to the cause of global proletarian revolution. While the revolutionary cause proved to be unattainable and costly, the period's artistic and intellectual achievements, known as the avant-garde, offer an extraordinary archive of utopian experimentation across borders.

Focusing on Moscow and Berlin, this course maps the socialist modernist aesthetic in interwar Europe and provides a comparative review of the transnational circulation of leftist and reactionary ideas registered in a variety of -isms: dadaism, expressionism, futurism, suprematism, and constructivism, as well as the New Objectivity, Bauhaus, and the practice of factography. The alignment of art and ideology will be explored through literature, art, and film and will consider the entanglements of egalitarian aspirations with nationalist agendas and emancipatory ideals with patriarchal residues. The course will also review the cultural production of Russian exiles living in Weimar Berlin and their conception of an "off-modern" path. The course will conclude with a discussion of the revolutionary avant-garde's legacy in the East Berlin underground and post-Soviet Moscow.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS CHUM
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CSCT)(GRST-MN)(GRST)(REES-MN)(REES-Lang/Lit/C)
Past Enrollment Probability: 75% - 89%

Last Updated on JUL-19-2024
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