Art in the Third Reich

TuTh 1:00PM - 2:15PM / 203 Frick Fine Arts Building / CRN 30308

This course examines the role of visual culture in shaping notions of identity in Hitler’s Third Reich.  The Nazi regime represents one of the darkest chapters in modern Western culture.  It also distinguished itself from other dictatorial regimes of the period through its genocidal drive to establish an Aryan ideal of Germanness and to eliminate all others who did not conform to this ideal including Jews, homosexuals, and the differently abled.  How were these distinctions between the Aryan ideal and its others to be made, seen, and acted on?  What role did the arts and visual culture play in this despicable effort?  
We will explore how Hitler’s regime marshaled painting, sculpture, film, rallies, photography, parades, architecture and more to the cause.  We will also consider examples of artistic resistance to Hitler’s project by examining works of artists who remained in a state of “inner immigration” during the Third Reich and efforts by those who fled abroad and used their art to draw attention to the atrocities unfolding in Germany.  The latter part of this course will examine the art of memory—how do memorials function to remind us of this murderous legacy in our modern history?  And what role do they continue to play in warning us against recurrences of cultural intolerance in our current moment?

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Barbara McCloskey

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Course Category

Category B: Disciplines and Intellectual Movements

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