Innovation Hall 211
Section Information for Spring 2017
This course will provide an overview and pre-history of the evolving, interdisciplinary body of scholarship and research known as Visual Culture. While Visual Culture draws from Art History, Cultural Studies, and Film and Media Studies, it is not reducible to any of those disciplines or modes of inquiry. Furthermore, research in Visual Culture has attended not only to visual objects, but also to the act of looking itself, and to the social construction of perception. As many of the theorists we’ll read have argued, perception is far from natural and universal; rather, it is historically and culturally specific and as such has changed over time, in part as a result of the development of new visual technologies. Looking practices, particularly those that have developed in the West, are also both the product of, and a system of reinforcement for, power and economic relationships, along gender and racial lines. To understand these operations, we will read from the theorists whose work was instrumental in addressing these issues of “the gaze” (Lacan, Foucault, Said, and Fanon) subject formation (Freud, DuBois, and others), and power (Foucault, Tagg, and others). We will also consider the looking practices and forms of engagement initiated and solicited by the modern technologies of photography and film. Finally, as a case study of sorts, we will interrogate the political efficacy of representing suffering (Sontag, Azoulay, Linfield, among others).
Examines theories, production, consumption, and reception of visual culture. Covers film, video, visual arts, music, display, ritual, performance, performativity, and theories of the aesthetic. Includes key readings from theorists such as Adorno, Artaud, Benjamin, Brecht, Bryson, Doane, Fiske, Heath, Marcuse, Merleau-Ponty, and Sartre.
This course is designed for the PhD student. Those students not admitted to a PhD program are required to contact the instructor.