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Popular Art and Political Anxiety: Writing Arts Criticism Today

The unexpected outcome of the 2016 presidential election was a wake-up call across the political spectrum to arts writers and critics, many of whom wanted to explore societal undercurrents in their criticism and address readers who were feeling voiceless. But how to do that in a movie review, a television synopsis, or a book review? In this course, join Joshua Rothkopf, senior film critic and film editor at Time Out New York, for a crash course in viewing popular art as expressions of political anxiety. We will watch films that are widely and broadly interpretable and then discuss them through the prism of politics and culture. Screenings may include Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Election (1999), and episodes of Netflix’s Black Mirror, along with selected readings. Write your own reviews—whether of film, TV, books, or art—with a focus on wider political ramifications. The goal is to get in the habit of teasing out sociopolitical subtext from mainstream entertainment, regardless if the political message is intended expressly by the artist, creator, or writer. All political persuasions are welcome; this will not be a class to debate issues, so much as to articulate them through creative writing.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • An understanding how pop culture can be a reflection of societal anxieties
  • Tools to interpret art through a political lens
  • Techniques for writing cultural reviews that reference current events

Ideal for

  • Aspiring journalists and arts critics
  • Fans of sophisticated popular culture, including movies, TV, and books
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.