The People’s Colloquium › Forums › Academics › Philosophy and Ideas – Lectures and Discussions › October 2018 – March 2019: Theory, Criticism, and Society › Monday, January 21st – Theory, Criticism, and Society
Below, please find syllabi for our January 21st discussion and lecture. Typically these resources are posted 2 weeks in advance.
Theory, Criticism, and Society: 10/2018 – 3/2019
During this semester, we’ll explore ideas from theory and criticism focusing on art, literature, music, and culture, with the further intention of applying such ideas to the creation and organization of society. Our goal is to deepen our understanding of theory and criticism, and to broaden our perspective of the world we live in—and the possibilities open to us.
Lecture: The Seeds of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr., Nonviolence, and the Civil Rights Movement: 1935-1968
As we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., we want to also celebrate the civil rights movement of which he was a part. Long before King was a student, African-American leaders were struggling to find ways to claim the rights that they were already legally entitled to. Many of these leaders were inspired and encouraged by the achievements of Mohandas Gandhi in his struggle with Great Britain for justice and equality for Indians. These early leaders brought these ideas and strategies back to the U.S. and into the Black universities that King would one day attend.
King was a brilliant student who entered college at the age of 15. His dream, at that point, was not to become the leader of a congregation, like his famous father in Atlanta, but to become a professor at some prestigious university. His first job, however, was as a pastor for a middle class Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. The community there had long searched for ways to challenge Jim Crow laws that left them in an humiliating and inferior status. At 25 years old and as a precociously eloquent outsider he was the religious community’s choice to be their mouthpiece in the confrontation with the white power structure. He was reluctant at first, but as he surrendered to this call, he found himself swept up into the cultural momentum that produced stunning advances in civil rights.
As a result King become the face and voice and fruit of this movement and its enduring symbol. After his death, at 39 from an assassins’ bullet, he became an international symbol of courage in the pursuit of justice and a more humane society. King was much more complex than our two-dimensional image of him, however. A student of Gandhi and committed Christian, with a profane lust for life; a passionate believer in the idea of America and influenced by socialist and communist ideas; considered an enemy of the state by the FBI. At the end of his life he believed his movement had been a failure. His story is both heroic and tragic. What can we learn from him and this spectacular cultural movement about our history, about our present; about ourselves as individuals?
“Parting the Waters” by Taylor Branch
“Bearing the Cross” by David J. Garrow
Discussion: Advertising, Identity, and Ideology.
Let’s discuss the relationship and interconnectivity between advertising, identity, and ideology.
Please read and review the following resource: https://pagely.com/blog/advertisers-trends-2018/
Please also read and review one other resource on this topic that you find yourself. Please post your resources in advance for others to review.
During our discussion, let’s try and understand how our identities and ideologies are shaped by and/or are appealed to by the forces of advertising.
– What is the relationship between advertising, narrative, and propaganda?
– If an advertiser takes an otherwise legitimate message and wraps their brand within it, does this trivialize the message, make the brand look bad, both, neither, or is this to be taken on a case-by-case basis?
– Are you more likely to purchase items and services that appeal to your identity and/or personal ideology?
– If it’s fair to say that identity and ideology are becoming increasingly focused upon by our society at large, should we expect more advertisements that tap into this zeitgeist? If so, how would this change the zeitgeist?
Given the expansive nature of the topic, we should expect this discussion to take us into some unexpected territory, so come equipped with your intellectual sense of adventure – and some sturdy boots wouldn’t hurt, either! 😉
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