Body Politics in Art Since 1945

This elective will examine the multiple and dynamic ways in which art since the Second World War has constructed understandings of the body.  Over the course of the semester, we will meet a strange and motley assortment of bodies: the diseased body, the heroic body, the queer body, the abject body, the body-as-machine. Not primarily concerned with images of the human figure—although they will certainly make appearances from time to time—the course will instead ask, “How does art think the body?  What kind of body made this work?  What kind of body does this work address as spectator.

2 credits

Course Code: HTA 341

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.