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URBANST 183A: Creative Climate Futures: Art, Climate Change & Urban Life (ARTSINST 183)

Climate change is a defining factor of this generation, and yet while scientists unanimously warn of the inevitability of climate change, it remains a looming specter. This course builds an intersectional and structural understanding of climate change, and explores how art activates the intangibility of climate change, making it visible, visceral, and political. We will examine how the geographies of colonialism, racial capitalism, and migration produce climate change inequities, and how the climate justice movement addresses these through creative forms of resistance. We will undertake this exploration in three parts: first, by engaging with the cities of New Orleans and San Juan, to understand how climate catastrophe aggravates existing inequalities, and how residents creatively respond to disaster. From there we will consider how art serves as a form of politics, how it is taken up in social movements to provoke shifts in political consciousness. Lastly, we will engage directly with political art forms that address climate change, with a particular focus on those that centralize the experiences of populations most at risk of climate catastrophe. These art forms call attention to who bears the disproportionate burden of climatic shift, which geographies are most at risk, and how these creative interpretations envision climate futures. The course will culminate in a collective creative project in which students address climate change and climate futures from their own lived experiences.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: Ramirez, M. (PI)

URBANST 184: Paris: Capital of the Modern World (FRENCH 140, FRENCH 340, HISTORY 230C)

This course explores how Paris, between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, became the political, cultural, and artistic capital of the modern world. It considers how the city has both shaped and been shaped by the tumultuous events of modern history- class conflict, industrialization, imperialism, war, and occupation. It will also explore why Paris became the major world destination for intellectuals, artists and writers. Sources will include films, paintings, architecture, novels, travel journals, and memoirs. Course taught in English with an optional French section.
Terms: Win | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI

URBANST 186: Creativity: Anatomy of a Buzzword (ARTSINST 184)

Creativity is one of the defining values of our time, embraced by corporate CEOs, kindergarten teachers, and starving artists alike. Yet it not always clear what creativity means. This course will explore how the capacious concept of creativity has shaped contemporary ideals of work, art, technology, human nature, and the good society. Using a mix of popular texts, contemporary scholarship, and classics of social thought, we will look at what kinds of products, places, and people count as 'creative' in public conversation, and why. Particular attention will be paid to how different overlapping notions of creativity have guided arts policy, business practices, and urban economic strategy over the last few decades of capitalist development. Using Stanford itself as a case study, students will conduct field work to discover how the concept of creativity operates across and between the various departments, disciplines, and centers on campus, from the fine arts to psychology to business. This research will culminate in the final group project: a multimedia archive and digital concept map of creativity discourse at Stanford. Students will come away from the class with concrete research skills and theoretical tools that will enable them to critically engage with any big ideas in the public sphere, as well as a better understanding of recent economic and cultural history underpinning our everyday assumptions and widely held values.
Last offered: Winter 2018 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
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