- UC Santa Cruz
- Visual Studies PhD
The study of visual culture encompasses the production, use, form, and reception of images past and present. It incorporates the painting, sculpture, and architecture traditionally defined as art history and extends throughout the field of visual imagery beyond the conventional boundaries formerly drawn by the academy. The History of Art and Visual Culture Department (HAVC) offers courses covering a wide variety of representations from the cultures of Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific Islands including areas as diverse as ritual, performative expression, bodily adornment, landscape painting, installation art and video games.
Students of the visual culture at UC Santa Cruz investigate complex questions concerning the social, political, economic, religious, and psychological impact of images from the perspective of their producers, users, and viewers. Images play a central role in the formation of values and beliefs, including the perception of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race and class. Through attentive historical study and close analysis, students are taught to recognize and assess these systems of value and are introduced to theoretical and methodological frameworks for future research. The history of art and visual culture curriculum guides students in acquiring skills in critical thinking about visual culture leading to a baccalaureate of arts (B.A.) degree. Each student who chooses to major or minor in visual culture devises an individual study plan with a faculty advisor.
STUDY AND RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES
Faculty are the best resource for learning about the philosophies and foundations of history of art and visual culture. Faculty advisors work individually with students to develop a specific course of study, recommend additional courses of interest, and discuss long-term career goals, including education beyond the baccalaureate. A faculty advisor is assigned to each student by the undergraduate adviser during the declaration of major meeting.
Combining HAVC with other programs
The HAVC major is flexible, can be easily completed within 4 years, and works well when combined with other programs offered at UCSC. Many students choose to combine HAVC with other major/minor programs such as Anthropology, Art, Education, History, Psychology, Businesss and Management Economics, and Classical/Italian Studies.
The flexibility of the HAVC programs allow many students to partake in Programs Abroad through UCSC or other institutions. To learn more about studying abroad as a HAVC student, please visit the department's programs abroad page as well as the UCSC Programs Abroad website.
The preparation students receive from the baccalaureate of arts degree in history of art and visual culture provides skills that can lead to successful careers in education, law, business, and social services, in addition to a more specific focus on museum curating, art restoration, studies in architecture, and studies in art history leading to a graduate degree.
For internships related to HAVC, click here.
Professor Martin Berger was awarded the Marta Sutton Weeks Faculty Fellowship at the Stanford Humanities Center (2008-09), and was a Clark Fellow at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (fall 2009).
Associate Professor Elisabeth L. Cameron was appointed the Patricia and Rowland Rebele Endowed Chair in History of Art and Visual Culture (2008-2013). Dr. Cameron also received an American Council of Learned Societies grant for 2009-2010.
Professor Carolyn Dean was awarded the Franklin Pease G. Y. Memorial Prize (2006) for the best article published in Colonial Latin American Review in 2003-04. Arvey Book Award for the best book on Latin American Art (2012)
Assistant Professor Maria Evangelatou was the recipient of a post-doctoral research fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks in 2009-2010.
Associate Professor Jennifer González (MIT Press, 2008) was a finalist for the CAA Charles Rufus Morey book award.
Associate Professor Stacy Kamehiro received the Office of the President Research Fellowship for academic year 2007-08.
Please visit the HAVC Alumni page for a list of program graduates.
PROGRAM LEARNING OUTCOMES (PLOs)
Graduates from the History of Art and Visual Culture B.A. program will have demonstrated the following:
PLO 1: Breadth of Cultural Knowledge: Students will be able to demonstrate an appreciation for, and foundation in, visual studies grounded in a range of historical, social, cultural, and ideological perspectives.
PLO 2: Critical Thinking: Students will be able to apply critical thinking skills that will enable them to analyze and solve problems through observation, experience, reflection, interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and/or explanation of visual, material, and historical cultural forms and values. Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills through oral and/or written communication.
PLO 3: Research Proficiency: Students will be able to formulate research questions that expand their knowledge of art and visual culture. Students will be able to apply research methods to answer these questions by consulting the current literature and developing independent results through archival, library, or field research.
PLO 4: Written Communication: Students will be able to present clear visual and historical analysis and interpretation in writing. Students will be able to demonstrate standard writing conventions in visual studies appropriate to purpose and context.