ARH 371 Global Surrealisms

The Surrealist movement began in early-twentieth century France as a revolutionary proposal to re-assess the foundations of Western knowledge and shatter the barriers of artistic expression by claiming the visible, observable world was a lie. Relying on the teachings of Sigmund Freud as a launching point, artists working in a Surrealist mode found inspiration and redemption in the West’s most profound “Others” and explored the depths of the subconscious to seek an alternative to the mechanized, murderous, malevolent substructure of industrialized society. While “Surrealism” did not last long as a cohesive ideology, “surrealism” as an idea transcends the limits of those European discontents by influencing subsequent artistic movements and modes of expression across the globe, as well as positioning indigenous, “non-Western” forms of knowledge as counterpoints to dominant ways of thinking. Students will engage deeply with these cultural intersections and creative cross-currents to probe the extensive histories, vast potentialities, and practical limitations of surrealist worldviews.