Honors Seminar V: Aesthetics, Values, and Authority


    General Information

    Professor Information

    Professor Photo
    Pioneer Winter 
    DM 233
    By Appointment/Scheduled

    Insofar as power is a matter of presentation, its cultural currency in antiquity (and still today) was the creation, manipulation, and display of images. - Jas Elsner

    In A Nutshell

    The Art of Persuasion fully online course focuses on the cultural and political appropriation of visual and performance art for the purposes of public conformity, propaganda, and dissent (1935-present day). The fall semester will look at 1935-1960 and the spring semester will look at 1961-present day.

    Course Summary

    Art, informed by the human experience, no matter its epoch, focus, or demographic, is wrought with dissension and counterpoint; and while scholars have learned to dig deeper and not allow insufficiency of findings to resolve into indifferent wrongness, they have also learned to not take the contradictions of our history too personally. There is no such thing as perspective-free history since those who write the history are themselves fallible. While one may agree with the words of R.G. Collingwood regarding man’s self-knowledge, your ‘res gestae,’ being the indicator of our incumbent progress, historical accuracy comes only from an honest intention. And honesty is, perhaps, out of reach for us. Keeping this in mind throughout the semester, we will examine how ambitions of power and the development of certain artistic (visual and performance) canons were mutually influenced; what rebel vs. state-sponsored art can tell us about ruling regimes and power relations; how propaganda in art affected society and historical events; and how our own preconceptions and contemporary concerns about propaganda, media, and political manipulation color our own approach to recent history and current culture.

    Course Objectives

    Students will be able to:

    • Recognize the various filters through which they understand themselves, others, and the interconnected histories of visual and performance art.
    • Examine authority of visuals and artifacts – or the lack of – in their understanding or misunderstanding of history, politics and culture.
    • Assess and appraise the breadth (and limitations) of the performing and visual arts as cultural mediums for accessing target populations.
    • Recognize the influence of Western values on how they perceive themselves and others.
    • Examine and question the relationship between art, political power, and identity.
    • Analyze the different media and techniques of message dissemination through visual and non-verbal means in Western politics.
    • Compose their own analyses and improve their analytical writing skills by learning to read, understand, and criticize scholarship.
    • Use materials from course content, to design their own creative responses to the art they have studied in order to evaluate their understanding through application.

    Global Learning Initiative

    Global Learning Objectives
    This course has been certified as meeting the university’s Global Learning requirement. This semester’s major component, Reacting to the Past, satisfies all three of the Honors College Global Learning Objectives.

    Global Awareness
    Through your engagement in writing analytical papers, you will demonstrate knowledge of the interrelated dynamics (social-cultural, political, economic, etc.) that shape the diverse thinking of multiple figures in diverse cultural contexts.

    Global Perspective
    Through your engagement in the “reacting” game and writing the research paper, you will be able to analyze the multiple causal forces that shape the perspectives of historical individuals — economic, political, sociological, technological, cultural, etc.

    Global Engagement
    Through your engagement in the Discussion Board and multimedia project, you will demonstrate a willingness to engage in evidence-based negotiation in order to solve a global issue.

    Important Information


    Please review the FIU's Policies webpage. The policies webpage contains essential information regarding guidelines relevant to all courses at FIU, as well as additional information about acceptable netiquette for online courses.

    Emergency Management

    The FIU Department of Emergency Management guides the university's all hazard preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation needs, by coordinating information and resources to protect our students, faculty, staff and visitors, and restoring operations as soon as possible following a disaster.

    Some of the valuable safety resources you'll find on our website are:

    • Information on FIU Criminal Threats to guide faculty, staff, and students who may be caught in an active shooting, bomb threat, or suspicious packages situation.
      • The FIU Police Department recommends downloading the app called “Stop the Bleed”, which provides instructions on how to efficiently stop excessive bleeding when someone has been shot or has an open wound.
    • The FIU Safety Equipment Map to identify all exits in your classrooms as well as all FIU safety equipment on-campus.
      • Make note of the nearest Automated External Defibrillators (AED), Evacuation Chairs and Emergency Call boxes to your classroom. 
    • Information on the FIU Emergency Alert System and sign up for FIU Alerts.
    • Information on how to prepare and deal with different types of emergencies.

    Physical, Mental and Sensory Challenges
    Every effort will be made, where feasible and practical, to accommodate students who are so challenged. Should you require accommodations, contact the Disability Resource Center, if you have not done so already.

      Honors Citizenship Requirements

    • Beginning in Fall 2014, Honors College students are required to accumulate at least 20 citizenship points each academic year (Fall and Spring) by attending Honors College activities. Students attending only one semester (Fall or Spring) are required to accumulate 10 citizenship points. See:  Honors College Citizenship

    Community Service

    • Honors College students must also complete 20 volunteer service hours. These hours DO NOT count toward the 20 citizenship points discussed above. See: Community Service

    Honors Education in the ARTS (HEARTS) 

    • The HEARTS program is designed to give Honors College students opportunities to “explore and appreciate different artistic and cultural traditions and modes of artistic expression. HEARTS will also serve as a clearinghouse (and curatorial framework) for our students to experience the arts on campus and in the community by providing them with information about cultural activities and access to performances with free or discounted tickets. See: Honors Education in the ARTS

    Academic Misconduct Procedures and Penalties

    In The Honors College, the term “honor” refers both to academic accomplishment and character. Students in Honors should therefore adhere to and be held to the highest standards of personal academic accountability. Academic dishonesty in any form, including plagiarism, is antithetical to the very definition of being an Honors student at FIU. Consequently, an Honors College student found responsible for academic misconduct will be dismissed from the College. 

    An Honors faculty member may bring charges of academic misconduct against an Honors student if the faculty member suspects plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct. The faculty member will decide whether to pursue informal resolution, file formal resolution charges, or take no further action, and will follow the procedures outlined in the Honors College website.

    Registration in this course implies an acceptance of and compliance with the Honors College policies for students and the FIU Code of Academic Integrity. Please refer to the following documents for additional information:

    Student Portfolios
    The Honors College will be using a portfolio method to assess students’ learning outcomes. The portfolio method allows for maximum flexibility in gauging student learning. You will decide (with instructor consultation) what “artifacts” or assignments to include for consideration in your portfolios to demonstrate successful achievement of each of the student learning outcomes.

    Portfolios provide a rich context for students to show what they have learned and to explain their learning process. Because the Honors curriculum is thought provoking and reflective, student self-assessment through portfolios will facilitate learning and provide in-depth assessment.

    Each Honors College course includes at least one assignment that could potentially fit portfolio requirements.


    This is a fully online course. As such, no attendance will be taken. The only barometer for assessing student participation will be in the timely submissions of assignments and discussions throughout the semester.

    Technical Requirements & Skills

    One of the greatest barriers to taking an online course is a lack of basic computer literacy. By computer literacy we mean being able to manage and organize computer files efficiently, and learning to use your computer's operating system and software quickly and easily. Keep in mind that this is not a computer literacy course; but students enrolled in online courses are expected to have moderate proficiency using a computer. Please go to the "What's Required" webpage to find out more information on this subject.

    This course utilizes the following tools:

    1. Adobe Connect

    Please visit our Technical Requirements webpage for additional information.

    Accessibility And Accommodation

    Please visit our ADA Compliance webpage for information about accessibility involving the tools used in this course.
    For additional assistance please contact FIU's Disability Resource Center.

    Academic Misconduct Statement

    Florida International University is a community dedicated to generating and imparting knowledge through excellent teaching and research, the rigorous and respectful exchange of ideas and community service. All students should respect the right of others to have an equitable opportunity to learn and honestly to demonstrate the quality of their learning. Therefore, all students are expected to adhere to a standard of academic conduct, which demonstrates respect for themselves, their fellow students, and the educational mission of the University. All students are deemed by the University to understand that if they are found responsible for academic misconduct, they will be subject to the Academic Misconduct procedures and sanctions, as outlined in the Student Handbook.

    Academic Misconduct includes: Cheating – The unauthorized use of books, notes, aids, electronic sources; or assistance from another person with respect to examinations, course assignments, field service reports, class recitations; or the unauthorized possession of examination papers or course materials, whether originally authorized or not. Plagiarism – The use and appropriation of another’s work without any indication of the source and the representation of such work as the student’s own. Any student who fails to give credit for ideas, expressions or materials taken from another source, including internet sources, is responsible for plagiarism.

    Learn more about the academic integrity policies and procedures as well as student resources that can help you prepare for a successful semester.

    Course Prerequisites

    There are no prerequisites for this course.

    Required Textbooks Or Readings

    All required course text and readings will be made available via external website links or embedded .pdf. There is no required textbook purchase. At the end of every lecture is a bibliography, and the student has the opportunity to read further in any module where s/he may seek further knowledge or understanding.

    Expectations Of This Course

    This is an online course, which means most (if not all) of the course work will be conducted online. Expectations for performance in an online course are the same for a traditional course. In fact, online courses require a degree of self-motivation, self-discipline, and technology skills which can make these courses more demanding for some students.

    Students are expected to:

    • Review the how to get started information located in the course content
    • Introduce yourself to the class during the first week by posting a self introduction in the appropriate discussion forum
    • Take the practice quiz to ensure that your computer is compatible with Canvas
    • Interact online with instructor/s and peers
    • Review and follow the course calendar
    • Log in to the course 4 of times per week
    • Respond to discussion boards, blogs and journal postings within 3 days
    • Respond to emails/messages within 48 hours
    • Submit assignments by the corresponding deadline

    The instructor will:

    • Log in to the course 6 days per week
    • Respond to discussion boards, blogs and journal postings within 3 days after closing
    • Respond to emails/messages within 24 hours
    • Grade assignments within 7 days of the assignment deadline

    Changes will be announced in class or by FIU email:  No tardy assignments accepted.  No emailed or late responses accepted.  

    Course Detail

    Course Format

    The format of this course will consist of mostly discussion with some limited lecture based in film and PowerPoint. At the end of each week, a guide to the readings as well as the Discussion Board assignment for the following week will be assigned. To facilitate discussion, you are expected to complete the assigned reading ahead of time and study any images/video posted on the course website; the weekly Discussion Board assignment is intended to help you keep up with this material and to prepare you for analytical written assignments and your final multimedia project. Readings will be made available on Canvas.

    A note about the Course Documents and Readings
    The assigned study material will fall into roughly three categories:

    1. General background reading
    2. Image and video sources
    3. Scholarly articles and essays

    The vast bulk of your readings will fall within these categories; these need to be read carefully. All of them will have been written in order to explicitly argue one or more interpretations, and often will be written from a strong point of view. After reading these essays, it is important that you be able to articulate the author’s thesis, the arguments, the evidence, the methodology, and any assumptions or presumptions that underlie the narrative.

    Course Communication

    Communication in this course will take place via Email.

    The Email feature is an external communication tool that allows users to send emails to users enrolled within the course. Emails are sent to the students’ FIU email on record. The Email tool is located on the Course Menu, on the left side of the course webpage.

    Visit our Writing Resources webpage for more information on professional writing and technical communication skills.

    Discussion Forums

    Keep in mind that your discussion forum postings will likely be seen by other members of the course. Care should be taken when determining what to post.

    Brief essays (ca. ½ to 1 page) that respond to a question or set of questions, one of the readings, or an image or images. You must post early enough to allow other classmates to respond to your post. You are required to respond to two other posts by classmates. These will be graded for content and style. There will be several of these; I will drop the one with the lowest grade from your average. Do not underestimate the importance of these.


    In order to mitigate any issues with your computer and online assessments, it is very important that you take the "Practice Quiz" from each computer you will be using to take your graded quizzes and exams. It is your responsibility to make sure your computer meets the minimum hardware requirements.

    Assessments in this course are not compatible with mobile devices and should not be taken through a mobile phone or a tablet. If you need further assistance please contact FIU Online Support Services.


    Analytical Paper: A paper (ca. 5-6 pages + bibliography/works cited) analyzing a given work of art, intended to get you thinking about how to look at art, images, and performance footage. You’ll have various options, including monument/object comparisons, an analysis of a movie adaptation of an event/person, or a response to some scholarship.

    • Analytical Paper will be paired with Video Blog #2 – an oral summary of your research. This helps you speak informally (but succinctly) about your research, as a way of sharing with your fellow classmates.

    Final Reflection Paper: A looser written assignment than the prior analytical papers (ca. 2-4 pages). This serves as a reaction to course material presented, so that the professor may have evidence of objectives met. This also serves to express how the student has assimilated the course material into a framework for critically observing and understanding contemporary examples of the coursework presented within the students’ own lexicon of daily experience.

    Please note that the following information only applies if your course requires the use of Turnitin to submit your assignments.

    • Review the detailed Turnitin Instructions on how to submit your assignments and how to review the Grademark comments (feedback) from your professor.

    Video Blog

    This course has Video Blog assignments utilizing the Discussion tool. Students will upload all course videos into the assignment's particular blog by the due date noted in the weekly schedule of this syllabus.

    Video Blogs can be found in the Discussion portion of the navigation bar or located within the content area of the course.

    Please review the Video Blog Rubric in order to better understand what is expected from your assignment submission.

    Multimedia Project

    Guidelines and recommendations to be made available online. Choose any artwork from 1930-present day and any country of origin. The artwork can be any medium – performance, musical, theatrical, visual, graphic, editorial, literature, etc. Translate the message of that artwork into a new medium (something that is different than the original artwork). Make sure that both the original artwork and your art translation are ‘saying’ the same thing, using propaganda and visual rhetoric learned in the course.

    • Multimedia ‘Ekphrastic’ Project will be paired with Video Blog #3 – an oral summary of the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of your project, the choices made in adapting the artwork and your decision making process.

    Extra Credit

    If an exhibit or performance is available that focuses on some aspect of this course, the student may ask permission to attend and write a brief (ca. 2 page) reflection of the work they witnessed. Please note, further proof of attendance at the exhibit must be submitted along with the reflection paper (i.e. image of student with art work, or scanned ticket/admission).

    Adobe Connect Pro Meeting

    Adobe Connect is an online meeting room where you can interact with your professor and fellow students by sharing screens, sharing files, chatting, broadcasting live audio, and taking part in other interactive online activities. We will be utilizing this tool to conduct office hours.

    Meetings will be available through appointment

    Requirements for using Adobe Connect:

    • Disable any window pop-up blocker.
    • Adobe Flash Player is required to successfully run your Adobe Connect meeting. You can test your computer to make sure your computer and network connections are properly configured to provide you with the best possible Adobe Connect meeting experience.
    • Use of a combination headset and microphone with USB connection is recommended to ensure quality sound and reduce technical difficulties.

      Reference Adobe Connect (Tutorials & Help) to learn about the tool, how to access your meeting rooms and recordings.


    Course Requirements Number of Items Weight
    Discussions 9 44%
    Analytical Paper 1 12%
    Multimedia Project 1 12%
    Final Reflection Paper 1 8%
    Quizzes 3 12%
    Video Blogs 3 12%
    Extra Credit (Optional) 1 5%
    Total   100%
    Letter Range (%) Letter Range (%) Letter Range (%)
    A 95 or above B 83 - 86 C 70 - 76
    A- 90 - 94 B- 80 - 82 D 60 - 69
    B+ 87 - 89 C+ 77 - 79 F 59 or less

    Course Calendar

    Module Weekly Schedule

    Module 1 - Introduction to the Course

    *Notice: For each week, assignments become available on Monday and are due on Friday*

    Date Activities
    Week 1
    August 20th - August 26th


    • Introduction to the Course 1935-1960 (lecture)


    1. Introduce Yourself Video Blog 
    Week 2
    August 27th - September 2nd


    • The Power of Images: Defining ‘Propaganda’ (Powerpoint)


    1. Discussion Board #1

    Module 2 – Philosophies of Art and Politics

    *Notice: For each week, assignments become available on Monday and are due on Friday*

    Date Activties

    Week 3
    September 3rd - September 9th

    (Labor Day Holiday – University Closed)


    • Post-Modernism vs. Modernism (Video lecture)


    1. Quiz #1 

    *September 3 is Labor Day. Canvas will still be available in case you’d like to work on assignments.

    Week 4
    September 10th - September 16th


    • Historiography (Video lecture)
    • Post-Colonialism + Cultural Appropriation (Powerpoint)


    1. Discussion Board #2
    Week 5
    September 17th - September 23rd


    • Nature, Object, Method, and Value (Powerpoint) 


    1. Discussion Board #3
    Week 6
    September 24th - September 30th


    • Identity, Performance, and Aesthetics (Video lecture)


    1. Discussion Board #4

    Module 3 – World War II, Nazism, and Ausdruckstanz

    *Notice: For each week, assignments become available on Monday and are due on Friday*

    Date Activities
    Week 7
    October 1st - October 7th


    • Laban, Jooss, and Wigman (Powerpoint)


    1. Discussion Board #5
    Week 8
    October 8th - October 14th


    • Degenerate Art
    • Fighting for Modernism (film)


    1. Quiz #2
    Week 9
    October 15th - October 21st


    • Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
    • Birth of Butoh (film)


    1. Discussion Board #6

    Module 4 – American Dreams, American Realities

    *Notice: For each week, assignments become available on Monday and are due on Friday*

    Date Activties
    Week 10
    October 22nd - October 28th


    • Rise of Rock and Roll (lecture)


    1. Discussion Board #7
    2. Analytical Paper
    3. Video Blog #2
    Week 11
    October 29th - November 4th


    • Segregation Ruled Unconst’l in US and the Barbie Doll (lecture) 


    1. Discussion Board #8

    Week 12
    November 5th - November 11th



    • Korean War and Joseph McCarthy(ism): Allegory and Inherit the Wind (film) 


    1. Quiz #3


    Week 13
    November 12th - November 18th

    (Veteran's Day Holiday - University Closed)


    • First Televised Presidential Debates: The Public Image (film)


    1. Discussion Board #9

    *November 12th is Veterans Day. Canvas will still be available in case you’d like to work on assignments.

    Week 14
    November 19th - November 25th

    (Thanksgiving Holiday - University Closed)

    Wrap-Up and Looking Forward 1961-present (No Assignments Due)

    *November 22 and 23 is Thanksgiving Holiday. Canvas will still be available, but there are no assignments due this week.

    Week 15
    November 26th - December 2nd


    1. Work on Multimedia Project (Ekphrasis Project + Video Blog #3)

    Week 16
    December 3rd - December 8th

    Friday, Dec 8th (On-Campus Exams for Online Courses)


    1. Final Submissions (Reflection Paper + Extra Credit)

    *Final Week of the semester. Reflection Paper and Extra Credit are due this week, but you can submit earlier if you are able.

    To be revised as the semester progresses. See separate handouts in Course Documents for assigned readings, guide to these readings, and discussion topics.