Teaching HAVC 100A, Approaches to Visual Studies, was one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences I have had at UCSC. The goal of the course is to introduce students to the wide range of Visual Studies theories and methodologies used to analyze visual material, while also walking them through all the steps to write their own academic research papers. By redesigning the thematic weeks of the course and overhauling the reading list, I was able to emphasize the high political stakes of the visual world and the importance of its histories.
HAVC undergrads are eager learners with an exceptional capacity to grasp the complex theoretical problems in Visual Studies. By the end of the quarter, our class discussions were lively and meaningful. Every class felt too short to cover all the things we wanted to talk about. They worked hard and learned a lot. I was constantly impressed by the mature community feeling in the classroom and the critical issues students brought to the table.
This course offers students an introduction to the methods and theories used in the study of the History of Art and Visual Culture. It aims to familiarize students with these theories through reading original theoretical literature and examining how prominent scholars have applied these methods and theories. Not simply explaining the logic of particular methodologies, the course will encourage students to consider what is at stake (from political, economic, and cultural vantages) in the selection of a particular approach.
“Being in school here often feels very mechanical and factory-like and business-y and alienating, but the way you held class was so much more engaging and really dealt with important and urgent topics, not dismissing various tactics for thinking and acting.”
“Jordan explained material thoroughly with passion and knowledge. They really brought reading material that is relevant today and it helps us as students to relate to material. They were able to successfully explain the methods and approaches of visual studies.”