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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An intellectual history of the School for Designing a Society
by Scott, Robert White, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011, 279; 3479336
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation traces the roots of an experimental art school for social change called the School for Designing a Society. It focuses on the history of a group of intellectuals, and their ideas, during the latter half of the twentieth century. The composer Herbert Brün (1918–2000) formulated many of the original ideas used by the school in concert with his students and colleagues at the University of Illinois. This study focuses on how their ideas about composition led to the founding of a school. It begins with the turmoil of World War II, which influenced experimental artists such as Brün; the development of cybernetics as an interdisciplinary field; the attempt of Brün and cyberneticians to offer an experimental interdisciplinary course in 1968. As the 1960s faded out, a new crop of music composition students rallied around Brün. They formed an ensemble and renewed the bridge to cybernetics; the ensemble achieved a high level of professionalism and toured internationally. Elements of Marianne Brün’s course on Designing Society, and Susan Parenti’s skill at organizing an experimental arts ensemble led to a 1992 proposal to start a school. Members of the ensemble needed a discursive context to engage the political and social consequences of experimental art production. Rather than scatter to various university jobs, or wrangle with the local University’s structure, the group decided to create their own school, off-campus. The School for Designing a Society thus arose out of a necessity that was generated by desire.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Darder, Antonia
Commitee: Dhillon, Pradeep A., Ginsburg, Rebecca, Pak, Yoon K.
School: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Department: Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 73/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Art education, Pedagogy, Education history
Keywords: Adorno, Theodor W., Alternative education, American Society for Cybernetics, Anticommunication, Atonality, Biological computing laboratory, Black Mountain College, Bruen, Herbert, Composition, Constructivism, Illinois, School for Designing a Society
Publication Number: 3479336
ISBN: 978-1-124-97645-7
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