Monday, April 11, 2011

Furniture in a Survey of Literature Course

Whenever I have to present a new artistic movement in my Survey of Spanish Literature course, I don't plunge into the recital of the characteristics of Enlightenment, Romanticism, Modernism, etc. I begin such lectures with showing students pictures of furniture, clothes and hair-styles that were popular in the time period associated with this artistic movement.

I could spend hours, days, weeks trying to explain what Modernism is about. I love pontificating about Modernism, and the students seem to enjoy my lectures on the subject. However, no amount of talking allows students to grasp the spirit of the times as well as seeing how people looked and what objects they surrounded themselves with. (If this sounds a little confusing, keep in mind that I'm blogging from a chair in a doctor's office right now. The chair looks vaguely art deco, by the way).

Tomorrow I will be showing some postmodern furniture to my students and then asking them to tell me what they think postmodernism is about.

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