Department of Sociology


Course Code: 2320438
METU Credit (Theoretical-Laboratory hours/week): 3(3-0)
ECTS Credit: 6.0
Language of Instruction: English
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Course Coordinator: Prof.Dr. HASAN ÜNAL NALBANTOĞLU
Offered Semester: Fall or Spring Semesters.

Course Objective

In this second part of the course, the gaze is directed at particular fields/activities of fine arts, literature and music. Otherwise, the main objective remains the same as in the first part (SOC 437), and that is: "The main objective of this two-semester course is to develop historical-sociological insights for tackling problems of art and aesthetics in terms of a series of theoretical problematizations. These problematizations are, in turn, based on certain premises of thinking derived from various realms of human intellectual and aesthetic experience, including ancient and modern philosophy. No doubt the discipline of sociology is a child of modernity, just as “fine arts” (schne Kunst) and modern aesthetics or any academic discipline is (including philosophy insofar as it is taught under the technical rubric of modern university). Here are some of the questions and problematizations addressed in the course: • In what does "art" tend to carve out its ‘specific’ realm of existence by differentiating itself from such other domains of human-social existence as science, politics and morality? Can there be a “solitary priesthood of art” (Eagleton) where one can be at one with humanity? • Is there a sort of ‘value’ distinct from others and only peculiar only to “the rainbow of art that traverses all historical distances” (Gadamer)? • What is it then that turns a specific product of human labor as ‘work’ into a ‘work of art’? • How does a ‘work of art’ offer itself to an “aesthetic experience” which is supposed to be distinct from other realms of human activity experience, such as the economic, social-cultural and political? In other words, is the value of a ‘work of art’ solely as work of art intrinsic to the experience it offers? • How did the so-called artistic practice and its specific products assume quite diversified forms throughout history, making it quite difficult to bring corresponding experiences under a single heading? • How does all this fare in our techno-scientific era of simulacra, dissimulation, post-modernity and widespread

Course Content

Social, cultural and ideological dimensions of art from earliest beginnings. Work-character of the “work of art.” Art as gateway to truth. Commodification of artworks. Art now: just another sphere of commodity and information flow or a privileged field of emancipatory forces? Is art dead, given today’s social, economic and technological matrix? Artwork as simulacrum and dissimulation. Subjectivity as the constituent dimension of aesthetic experience in techno-scientific age.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this two-semester course, any student who regularly attends the sessions and fulfilling all the other requirements should sufficiently be able to divulge in addressing general questions raised by entering into experience with the "works of art" in different realms of artistic-aesthetic in the light of theoretical insights and issues already discussed in the course.