AA100A: The Arts Past and Present I

The Arts Past and Present
Second Semester 2017-2018
Cut-off date: Week 10
Writing and Discussion Topic:
The construction of any reputation is a complex process. The factors involved in shaping reputations remain varied, and the interplay of these factors adds to the complexity of the process. History tells us of leaders who have myths built around them and who have had up to this very day their reputations contested. Sometimes, and by some, these leaders are called nation builders, mass murderers, usurpers etc. Their memory lives on and so does the controversy surrounding them. The course book, Reputations deals with Cleopatra and Stalin as examples. Choose one such iconic “leader” (do NOT choose Cleopatra or Stalin) and discuss the issues involved in process of his/her reputation formation. Pay attention to the factors that could have contributed to his/her contested reputation and the role historical sources are made to operate. First, you should read to build your understanding of the complex theme of reputation before focusing your attention on material that would help you address the subthemes numbered 1-5 below, as they apply to the leader of your choice:
1) Identify the issues involved in setting the “leader” in his/her historical context.

2) Discuss the role played by historical interpretation in shaping the “leader’s” reputation.

3) Discuss how myths are constructed around this “leader”.

4) Investigate the interplay of myth and history in constructing the “leader’s” reputation.

5) Reflect on how different times and cultures make use of the past and its sources when constructing seemingly “irreconcilable” reputations of the same “leader”.

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