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Visual Culture and Analysis




Admission Requirements



The contemporary world is a complex visual environment, and confronts us with a wide range of visual imagery: from photography, film and advertising, to digital media, surveillance cameras and art in museums. This course will introduce students to frameworks for analyzing visual images. We will focus on a number of themes, including high and low art and gender and gaze, to explore how images are embedded in social and cultural systems. What are some of the ways of looking at images? How do they inform identity? Students will reflect on the role of images, and their implications.

Course Objectives

  • To gain familiarity with key concepts in Visual Culture Studies

  • To view and think about visual culture analytically and critically

Mode of Instruction

Tuesday meetings will serve to introduce the weekly topic through lectures, questions and debates. To enable creative and informed classroom discussions, students will be required to submit a guided reflection (300-500 words) on the weekly topic, based on assigned readings and due prior to the lecture.

Friday meetings will start with students’ joint presentation (20 minutes, one group per week) of a case study connected to the weekly topic, again based on assigned readings. These presentations will feed into group discussions, and will develop students’ abilities to think and talk about images, and to apply and articulate concepts covered in the course.

Students are expected to actively engage with course materials, and offer their own views and questions.




Assigned readings will be made available on Blackboard.

Contact Information

Weekly Overview

Week 1: Art history and visual culture
Week 2: Vision and visuality
Week 3: High art-low art
Week 4: Spectatorship
Week 5: The gaze
Week 6: Advertising: desire and design
Week 7: Culture on display: museums and public art
Week 8: Reading Week

Preparation for first session