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An intellectual history of the School for Designing a Society

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Title: An intellectual history of the School for Designing a Society
Author(s): Scott, Robert W.
Director of Research: Darder, Antonia
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Darder, Antonia
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Pak, Yoon K.; Dhillon, Pradeep A.; Ginsburg, Rebecca
Department / Program: Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline: Educational Policy Studies
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Adorno Alternative Education American Society for Cybernetics Anticommunication Atonality Black Mountain College Biological Computing Laboratory Brün Composition Constructivism Cybernetics Desire Design Experimental Folk School Freire Frankfurt School Highlander Heuristic Horton Illich Illinois Information Theory Language Maturana Music New Music Performers' Workshop Ensemble Politics Political Change School for Designing a Society Situationist International Social Change Society Systems Theory University of Illinois von Foerster
Abstract: 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.
Issue Date: 2011-05-25
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Robert White Scott.
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-25
Date Deposited: 2011-05

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