Science and Modernism|
Spring 2011 not offered
An extraordinary set of breakthroughs in the sciences and mathematics (statistical mechanics, relativity theory, light and color, quantum mechanics, and non-Euclidean geometry) emerged in the same late 19th-, early 20th-century time frame as major new advances in the visual arts (postimpressionism, fauvism, cubism, futurism, and dynamism), as well as experimental fiction, music, and dance. Fundamental ideas at the core of modern science, particularly in the treatment of time, space, and motion, are remarkably similar to those in modernist works. This course considers the collected works as cultural artifacts and investigates critically the extent to which hypotheses about parallelisms, interconnections, cultural influences, causalities, and field effects hold up. Topics such as positivism vs. atomism, the reliance on understanding scientific color theory by modernist artists, and the more controversial but provocative similarities between relativity theory, non-Euclidean geometry, and cubism are included. The social, cultural, and political matrix within which modern science and modernism came about provides numerous chances to discuss conflicted issues in terms of what is known about the lived experience of creative individuals compared and contrasted with the more academic social, political, and cultural optic. The scientific contributions of Boltzmann, Poincaré, Chevreul, Blanc, Rood, Einstein, de Broglie, and Schrodinger are considered alongside selected works of Cézanne, van Gogh, Seurat, Picasso, Apollinaire, Jarry, Satie, Stravinsky, Joyce, and Proust.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture / Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
W. Everdell, THE FIRST MODERNS, University of Chicago Press (1977)
R. Shattuck, THE BANQUET YEARS: THE ORIGINS OF THE AVANT GARDE IN FRANCE, 1881 to WWI, Vintage Books (1968)
A. I. Miller, EINSTEIN, PICASSO: SPACE TIME AND THE BEAUTY THAT CAUSES HAVOC, Basic Books (2001)
Two monographs by Vargish and Mook, INSIDE RELATIVITY and INSIDE MODERNISM (both Yale Univ. Press)
A handout of primary source materials
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Self-assessment and term project.
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