AMCULT 498 - Capstone Seminar in American Culture
Section: 002 Fakes, Phonies, and Copies: Originality in a Digital Age
Term: WN 2018
Subject: American Culture (AMCULT)
Department: LSA American Culture
Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
ULWR
Waitlist Capacity:
unlimited
Repeatability:
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

In a cultural moment marked by "fake news," viral memes, and pirated content, it is said that there are no longer copies of originals but only copies of copies. In this course, we’ll explore copying as an artistic practice and political concept with rich and often surprising histories and subliminal meanings. We’ll be particularly attentive to what these can tell us about the relationship between representation and power.

Tactical copying — pastiche, collage, sampling, remixing — has a longstanding presence in Western popular and avant-garde culture, from the Dadaists’ use of found materials to William S. Burroughs’ literary cut-ups to John Cage’s found sounds to Grandmaster Flash’s remixes. And yet, even as we may celebrate its creative possibilities, copying remains inextricable from the moral and legal politics of ownership, authenticity, and originality that constitute the ethical-juridical bedrock of our social order.

We will ask not only what copying and appropriation are but also how they have been taken up in experimental art and media practice. The course will consider:

How have digital technologies (e.g. copy + paste) shaped our relationship to notions of authenticity, ownership, and originality? Are cultural anxieties about imitation dating back to the ancients made obsolete by our digital age or more present than ever?

What political and cultural operations are at work in the act of copying? Who is allowed to copy? Who gets away with it and who doesn’t?

How have artists and writers taken up copying and appropriation as a creative and critical strategy (e.g. hip-hop sampling, feminist collage, culture jamming, copyleft)? Can the act of appropriation be considered a radical act or does it only ever function to reproduce what came before it?

AMCULT 498 - Capstone Seminar in American Culture
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
25601
Open
11
2Jr>
3So>
-
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
002 (SEM)
P
27530
Open
8
4AMCULT Major
4Ugrd
-
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
003 (SEM)
P
31067
Open
12
 
-
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
004 (SEM)
P
32106
Open
19
 
-
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
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