Course Detail

195:381: Topics in Cultural Studies

In the early 20th century, Russian literary scholars set out to spread a new understanding of what constituted the nature of literature. Now known as Russian formalism, the movement coined the notion of “literariness” to account for the qualities of literary language, distinct from its habitualized uses. It envisioned literature to renew a perception that had become numbed by automatization. To describe the ways in which literature deviates from conventionalized norms of language use, they referred to the notion of “making strange.”

The seminar is based on the observation that aesthetic features attributed to literature can also be valid for other forms of artistic expression. Literary elements and genres play a significant role in many media artworks by renowned artists such as Mona Hatoum, Gary Hill, Jenny Holzer, William Kentridge, Nalini Malani, or Bruce Nauman. It will also look at media art adaptations of literary texts. This seminar will offer students of literature a focused introduction into the analysis of media art and students of media studies, performance studies, or art history an unusual insight into literary aesthetics. It will be structured according the book publication The Literariness of Media Art (Benthien, Lau, and Marxsen, 2019). Course Cross-listings: 470:390