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Teaching the IDSVA Message to Others

Teaching the IDSVA Message to Others
by IDSVA Alumna Heather Dunn

Slowly, IDSVA reading material has crept into my teaching, particularly those readings that informed my dissertation Forty Years of Change: How Genetic Technology Altered Gender Roles, Care-Giving, Family Structures, and the Artworld.  For example, last semester, while I was finalizing the last edits on my dissertation, I found myself designing a project for a studio classes, based on Günther Anders’ argument of technological agency.  This semester, as often is the case for adjuncts, at the last minute I was offered a new class, an honors art appreciation class.  Two days later, I found myself standing in front of a small group of bright and eager students.  While I’ve taught art appreciation classes so many times that I’m able to regurgitate my lectures from memory, I found these students able to answer my questions with much more insight than previous students.  I was excited.  I ran home, dusted off my copy of Charles Harrison’s, Art in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, and began to think, now I really can put all those hours and hours of reading to use.  However, somehow, I began to ask myself if I could really teach this stuff.  It is one thing to understand it and write a paper on it, but it is another to lecture or lead a discussion with students who have little or no art background.  I read and reread articles, and prepared a lecture on Greenberg versus Krauss and their receptive arguments with relation to Kant and Hegel.  After giving them the articles, I entered the class, armed with notes and a PowerPoint slide show, and began.  About 30 minutes into the class, I asked some very pointed questions about Greenberg.  The students started to respond with well-thought out answers.  Then, one student said, “Wow, I’ve never thought of art this way before,” and he proceeded to brightly sum up Greenberg’s use of Kant.  So I’ve written this, not to aggrandize my teaching, but to show how profoundly IDSVA can change our lives, and in turn we can extend that change to the teaching of others.