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E-Seminars: E-Seminar Detail
Art and Politics: Cultural Criticism in a Democracy
E-Seminar 1, The Origins of Modern Criticism

Taught by: Michael Janeway

Description
E-Seminar Description
The Origins of Modern Criticism is the first of two e-seminars drawn from Michael Janeway's popular course offered jointly by Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and School of the Arts. Cultural criticism—ranging from reviews of the latest film, book, or concert to the broadest kind of reporting and commentary on cultural issues—is a feature of democratic culture that we take almost for granted. For the past century and a half, in England and America, vital debates about our cultural and political health have been carried forward within this complex arena.

In this first e-seminar, Professor Janeway demonstrates how contemporary debates about the role of the arts in a democracy, about the need to expand our artistic canon, about the ability of the arts to transcend borders and open minds, took shape in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in England and the United States. The seminar presents important critical essays by six key critics:

  • Matthew Arnold, "The Function of Criticism at the Present Time"

  • Oscar Wilde, "The Critic as Artist"

  • George Bernard Shaw, "Little Eyolf," "Henry James and Oscar Wilde," and "The Classes and Musical Culture"

  • Mark Twain, "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses"

  • Henry Adams, "The Virgin and the Dynamo"

  • H. L. Mencken, "The National Letters"


  • Professor Janeway provides commentary that discusses these writers' critical styles and stances as well as their cultural and historical contexts.
E-Seminar Length:3-5 hours
Start Date:Anytime
Credits:Not-for-Credit
Prerequisites:None
Moderator:None
Columbia Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni:FREE

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E-Seminar Objectives | Outline | Instructor's Background | Technical Requirements

E-Seminar Objectives
•    Impart a broad understanding of the role of cultural criticism in a democratic society.

•    Explore the nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century roots of present-day cultural criticism through introduction to key figures in this history, from Matthew Arnold to H. L. Mencken.

•    Present primary texts that are outstanding examples of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Anglo-American cultural criticism.

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Outline
1. Introduction
2. What Is Criticism?
3. The Roots of Modern Criticism
      Matthew Arnold
      Oscar Wilde
      Conclusion
4. The Arts and Culture in Modern Democracy
      George Bernard Shaw
      Mark Twain
      Henry Adams
      H. L. Mencken
      Conclusion: Contrasting Critical Models
5. Review and Discussion
6. Biographies
7. List of Critical Essays

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Instructor's Background
Instructor's Background
Michael Janeway is Director of the National Arts Journalism Program, based at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in conjunction with Columbia's School of the Arts. This fellowship program for mid-career and senior arts journalists is dedicated to fostering broad-based, engaged, and thoughtful discussion of the arts and their place in society.

Before coming to Columbia, Professor Janeway was dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He has been executive editor in the trade division of Houghton Mifflin Company, managing editor and editor-in-chief of the Boston Globe, and executive editor at the Atlantic Monthly. Professor Janeway is the author of Republic of Denial: Press, Politics, and Public Life (1999), and edited and contributed to Who We Are: An Atlantic Chronicle of the United States and Vietnam (1969). His articles, essays, and book reviews have appeared in the Atlantic, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, and other publications.


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Technical Requirements
You will need to use a computer with Internet access to complete this course. We recommend the following minimum configurations:

IBM-COMPATIBLE PC
Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, or NT
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 4 or above (Internet Explorer 5 strongly recommended) or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

MACINTOSH
MAC OS 8.6 or higher
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 5 or above or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

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