Artists as Activists – The Interaction between American Artists and U.S. Politics



Time and place

  • Mi 16:15-17:45, Room KH 0.024 ICS

Please register for this class through OKTIS. [https://sprachkurse.fau.de/]
To receive a certificate, students are expected to participate regularly and actively and write a seminar paper (approximately 10 pages)
This seminar can be used in the context of:

• “Proseminar Politische Systeme II”

• “Import Kombi-Module Politics and Culture” (Cultural Geography & English and American Studies)

• Englisch für Alle Fakultäten (English for Academic and Special Purposes) as “Level 4” class


Toni Morrison famously said “The best art is political and you ought to be able to make it unquestionably political and irrevocably beautiful at the same time.” If, then, there is a dialogue between politics and arts, how do the arts engage in politics and vice versa? What are the goals said “best art” and the artists who create it are pursuing? What influence might they have on the political agenda? And how do the two spheres interact? From McCarthyism and blacklisting in Hollywood to BLM and Hamilton, from artistic commentary through film, theater, late night comedy, literature, and music (including everything from rap to opera), this class explores the role artists play in American politics. It looks at how they become involved in topics they feel strongly about and whether they may be able to influence the political agenda, but also at how politicians may use artistic production for their own agenda. After all, in a time of growing political polarization in the United States, more than just a few artists have taken to social media not only to promote their art, but also to make their political views heard. Some so much so that they have started referring to themselves as “artist and activist.” For more information on topics please see [https://sz.fau.eu/easp/enghaf-kursuberblick/enghaf-allgemeines-kursangebot-im-detail/#collapse_17] [link]

Additional information

Expected participants: 20

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg