Modernism - an Introduction to the Semester - (1/9)

Part I of Fiero's The Humanistic Tradition, The Global Village of the Twentieth Century, deals with the artistic style and the age labeled "Modern." The age began back in the late Seventeenth Century while the artistic period is thought of having begun around the end of the Nineteenth. We will use the first three chapters of the text as background. We will emphasize the Modernist period from 1945 until its end in the late 1960s. Beginning with Part II, we will be dealing with Postmodern concepts. In order to get a grasp on the concepts of either movement, it is necessary to deal with Modernism as an historical/ philosophical "age" as well as an art movement.

For Postmodern thinkers, explanations and histories of events are "stories" or "discourses." All theories of "why," scientific as well as social, are discourses (stories) created by society. Language is not a conduit through which I tell you reality and you get it. Rather, discourses are built upon metaphors. There is never a reality, only what we say via metaphor about reality

Fiero's text, as any text or lecture, is but one possible discourse built on metaphors. Think of what has been left out. Postmodernists feel that it is very important to strive to be sensitive of what certain discourses privilige and why and how this is expressed by metaphor. Discourse and metaphor may justify domination of one group over others.

What discourses are left out of the following brief introduction to this course or in Part I of Fiero. What metaphors can you find?


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