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Visual World Politics


Admission requirements



Tahrir square mobile phone videos, ISIS propaganda productions, Youtube recruitment or Facebook live mass shootings: We increasingly experience world politics through audio-visual media. Yet our research and teaching of international relations (IR) has often ignored this evolution, confining it to traditional text-based analysis and passive media literacy. This course proposes to challenge our knowledge of IR by analyzing the visual dimension of international politics and offering a reflection based in visual practice as research methods. Over the course of the seminar, two main activities will be carried out in parallel. First, the instructor and students review and discuss practice-based projects that explore the sensorial (thus not only textual, but also visual, auditive) dimensions of world politics, with prominent in-depth case studies. This will be carried out by drawing on the theoretical literature on visuality in international relations, as well as the film practice of figures such as Dziga Vertov, Sergei Eisenstein, Errol Morris, Trinh T Minh-Ha, Harun Farocki, Hito Steyerl, or the Forensic Architecture project. Second, students will engage in practical exercises about alternative “ways of knowing” (experiential, practical, presentational, propositional) through practice-based experimentation with filmmaking tools and theoretical discussions in a tutored, collaborative environment. No prior knowledge of filmmaking is required.

Course objectives

At the end of the program, students will have acquired, cognitive and non-cognitive skills which contribute to their personal development and professional life: experimenting with rational, sensory and emotional forms of knowledge production, critical media literacy and thinking through concrete creative practice; experience of failure as a condition for innovation and development of collaborative and leadership skills in a professional environment.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

7 weeks, 2 x 2h per week of contact time. Each week = 2h of theoretical and conceptual discussion, 2h of review of each student’s hands-on filmmaking experiments and discussion in class.

Assessment method

Students are assessed on : 1. Participation: production of experiments, participation to class debates on readings and participation to peer feedback 2. Final seminar paper: critical assessment of the student’s own practice-based experiments, successes and failures on the basis of the conceptual and theoretical debates in the seminar.


Blackboard will be used for regular communication

Reading list

To be determined


See Preliminary Info

This course is earmarked for the specializations NECD and IP