This seminar aims to give students both a conceptual and practical grounding in the range of issues and approaches by which arts politics can be understood. The course will be framed by the following considerations: What are the institutional, discursive, and ideological contexts that shape the objects, images, sounds or texts we call “art?” What are the links between cultural spaces-- the museum, the movie-theater, the gallery, the music/dance hall, the bookstore, the fashion runway, the public street, television, cyber space-- and the larger realm of politics? And how do these relationships impact, implicitly or explicitly, the ways we create, curate, or study the arts? How do consumers play an active role in the reception of cultural products? What is the relation between formally promulgated cultural policy and the tacit knowledge that artists call upon toget their work into the world? What dimensions of the broader cultural terrain are made legible through artistic practice? What are the means through which art intervenes in the political arena? “Art” will be studied as a site of contested representations and visions, embedded in power formations-- themselves shaped by specific historical moments and geographical locations. Given contemporary global technologies, cultural practices will also be studied within the transnational “travel” of ideas and people. Such germane issues as the legal and constitutional dimensions of censorship, the social formation of taste, the consumption of stars, the bio-politics of the body, transnational copyrights law-- will all pass through an intersectional analyses of gender, race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, and nation, incorporating the insights of such areas of inquiry as multiculturalism, feminism, postcolonialism, and queer studies. The first half of the course is explores certain key conceptual issues and the second half examines practical applications. Specific examples are provided through student presentations.