Art, Play, and Politics in 19th Century Germany


This course explores the political effects of the creation and reception of art in the wake of the French Revolution.

We examine questions such as: is there a relation between art and state, between art and reason, or between art and human autonomy? Is a political revolution the condition for an 'internal' revolution of the self, or vice versa? Do the conditions of modern life (wage labour) render one of the aforementioned possibilities more feasible? Beginning with Kant and taking a survey of the 19th century landscape all the way to Hegel, this course examines how art came to be seen as the key method of coming to terms with the widespread disillusionment brought on by the French revolution and the reign of terror.

Taught at

  • McGill University in Montreal, QC (2015)