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Drugs and the Visual Imagination (ARTHIST 469)

469
Subject: 
FILMSTUD

Drugs have profoundly shaped human culture across space and time, from ancient cave paintings to the psychedelic Sixties and contemporary opioid epidemic. This seminar explores the relationship between visual culture and "drugs," broadly conceived, asking how consciousness-altering substances have been understood and represented in various contexts. We will examine how drugs blur boundaries between nature and culture and describe major symbolic, narrative, and aesthetic structures by considering representations of drug use across media. This interdisciplinary seminar integrates perspectives from art, literature, popular culture, theory, film, philosophy, and science. Topics include perception, subjectivity, addiction, deviancy, capitalism, politics, technology, globalization, and critical approaches to race, class, sexuality, and gender. Limited to graduate students; undergraduates must contact instructor for permission (seniors only).