This dissertation demonstrates how avant-garde methods can be employed as pedagogical methods in the undergraduate Humanities classroom to promote student engagement and interdisciplinary thinking. The study first addresses pedagogy and avant-garde art within their historical contexts as separate, but related disciplines. Subsequently the study fuses pedagogy and avant-garde art and provides examples of in-class activities and out-of-class assignments that illustrate the ways in which avant-garde methods function as practical teaching and learning methods. Further, the study presents artist Nam June Paik, whose work exemplifies the theoretical and practical underpinnings of avant-garde art as pedagogy. The dissertation champions the pedagogy of John Dewey, who called for a progressive educational system. It also argues for Paulo Freire's critical pedagogy and the Jesuits' Ignatian pedagogical paradigm, both of which serve as necessary complements in achieving Dewey's goal of an experiential educational environment. Dewey believed education should co-exist with life and should not be treated as a preparation for it, and thus his theories on aesthetics, in particular, argued that art is not severed from life, an idea shared by four avant-garde movements discussed in this study: Futurism, Dada, Surrealism, and Fluxus. Each of these movements sought to change the political and cultural environment, while maintaining that art and life are on equal ground. These pedagogies, aided by avant-garde methods, encourage and challenge students to engage with and think critically about the world around them.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Texts and Technology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Mazzarotto, Marci, "Nam June Paik and Avant-Garde as Pedagogy: Promoting Student Engagement and Interdisciplinary Thinking in the Undergraduate Humanities Classroom" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5473.