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CFA AR 331 and Contemporary Issues: Interpretation
2 Credits
R 9:00 am-10:45 am CFA 500
Fox Hysen (she/her)  
Office Location: zoom                                                                     
Contact Information: fixfox@bu.edu
please email me for office hours 

In the Context of Critical Thinking


Senior Seminar will be a chance for students to explore the questions: what is critical thinking? and what is context? The famous advocate of critical thinking, bell hooks wrote: “Theory is not inherently healing, liberatory, or revolutionary. It fulfills this function only when we ask that it do so and direct our theorizing towards this end.”

This class will involve reading, writing, discussion and brainstorming generally about what it means to be a painter today. We will ask questions about context: how is our painting practice affected by context in which we work? And conversely, can painting affect change to that context? Can painting contribute to a context of critical thinking? What does this look like and what does this mean? Can painting help us to be more free?

The course will be a chance for students to discuss and develop their work and ideas within the context of critical discourses by means of group discussion and formal critique.


One of the main goals of the course is to learn how to ask questions we might not ordinarily think to ask. In order to probe deeper we should be supportive each other and allow for mistakes along the way. What kind of work does it take to get to the place of asking deep and meaningful questions? We want to ask questions about the roll of the artist/painter in society both now and historically and to develop strategies for critical thinking in our own art practices. We will consider what it meant to make art in different eras and how “value” gets assigned and how value changes.

We will ask: who we are making our work for? who is the audience? Can contemporary art be a catalyst for community, respect, and a connection with environment and place? What kind of obligation do we have to others and to ourselves?

There are so many ways art can be “healing, liberatory, or revolutionary,” so the goal of the class will be to work together to develop conversation. Students will be asked to both challenge and support each other in taking risks based on the ideas presented in reading and discussion. We want to expand our notion of: what is critical thinking?