• Course Description:

    Almost since its inception, Hollywood has been considered a “Dream Factory,” a striking concept that weds the intangible with the industrial. In this course we will explore the historical, political, economic, and cultural inflections of this phrase, which appears to be a contradiction in terms. Beginning with understandings of the “dream” by thinkers such as Freud and Bergson, we trace how the notion of dreaming informed a diverse set of cultural practices, from the shock-montage aesthetics of the Surrealists and Hollywood’s industrialized form of collective dreaming to post-war poetry by Langston Hughes, contemporary mixed media art, and more. Self-conscious texts (i.e., movies about movies), which thematize the notion of a dream factory, will make up a section of the syllabus. The course will culminate with a critique of the “American Dream” by Black and working class people in the United States. By the end of the semester, students will have a sophisticated sense of the cultural and political stakes of dreaming in an age of perpetual productivity and connectivity, and will start to dream up alternatives—even techniques of wakefulness and wokeness—to what the culture industries provide.

  • Instructor(s): DAVID FRESKO (Assistant Undergraduate Director)