Visual Studies Courses

Courses for 2015-16

Core Courses:

HAVC 201A (Fall) / HAVC 201B (Winter): Introduction to Visual Studies and Critical Theory
An introduction to the visual studies discipline through a range of discourses and approaches that have proven productive for practitioners of visual studies, in diverse thematic foci and cultural contexts. Both courses feature intensive readings and student-led discussions. In each quarter students work on three short papers on topics of their choice that relate to the broader issues discussed in class. Both courses are required for all first-year visual studies graduate students. Other students are welcome to take them individually or as a sequence. 201A, A. Narath / 201B, M. Evangelatou

HAVC 202: Introduction to Visual Studies Methods (Spring)
Examines research methods and approaches in a variety of materials, cultures, periods and subjects that are relevant in the discipline of Visual Studies. Discussions focus on research and readings by individual VS faculty who share practices, experiences and advice. Required seminar for all first-year visual studies graduate students. J. Gonzalez

HAVC 204/FILM 204: Grant Writing (Spring)
Instruction and practice in writing grant proposals. Students will work on grants for educational support, their doctoral dissertation research and writing, or both. Open to Visual Studies and Film Digital Media students only. (2 credits, may be repeated for credit.) M. Evangelatou



HAVC 241: Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and Ecology (Fall)
What role do cultural practitioners—artists, activists, new media programmers, architects, theorists—play in relation to today’s manifold ecological crises? This graduate-level seminar considers the diverse ways visual culture intersects with environment in a global framework, exploring subjects such as the financialization of nature, climate refugees, rights of nature, and Indigenous ecologies. It examines experimental documentary practice in video and photography, radical gardening and urban farming, and socially-engaged collaborations, in terms of how they confront the violence and biopolitics of climate change, destruction of ecosystems, and global warming in the age of neoliberal globalization. T. Demos

HAVC 220: Topics in Asian Visual Studies: (Re)Framing Visual Culture in Post-Colonial and Post-Cold War Asia and Beyond (Winter)
A corpus of theoretical writings has emerged in recent decades that destabilizes and thus “provincializes” the West. Now that the West is decentered, how does one go about framing, interpreting, analyzing, and writing visual culture beyond the orientalist binary of East/West. This interdisciplinary seminar examines new conditions and possibilities in post–Cold War Asia that enable us to remediate representations of race, gender, sexuality, and subject positions. How do scholars who work in the European-American traditions situate and reframe their ways of seeing and writing in a world in which the West is decentered? What are scholars’ moral obligations for engaging in this reconfigured theoretical order; an order that goes beyond gesturing to the “global” by supplementing Western canons with examples from the “non-Western.” Where is/are the new center(s)? Where is culture located after this paradigm shift? One of the goals of this seminar is to work with participants in coming up with alternative analytics that enable them to (re)frame and to write about visual cultures in post–Cold War Asia and other contexts. B. Ly

HAVC 233: Topics in Contemporary Art and Visual Culture: Contesting Blackness: New Positions in African-American Art and Culture (Spring)
Since the 1980s, critical discussions on African-American identity and culture have begun to challenge entrenched dogmas around racial authenticity and fidelity—particularly those that issue from a hetero-patriarchal logic. This course introduces students to critical theories that have played a central role in shaping the ever-evolving discourse on Contemporary African-American Art and Visual Culture. Rather than a comprehensive overview, the course focuses on a set of key thinkers and intersecting concepts (presented as weekly thematic clusters) that can serve as openings for further exploration. Black feminist and queer discourses throughout the arts, visual culture, social sciences, and humanities, have been at the vanguard of a developing set of discussions that explore how conceptions of “normative” blackness contain pernicious and deeply embedded biases, bigotries and exclusions. Looking at a diverse range of media, this graduate-level seminar will unpack how recent visual representations of African-American identity have begun to aggressively challenge traditional rhetorics around notions of “authentic” blackness. D. Murray

HAVC 297: Independent Study
Independent study or research for graduate students. Students submit petition to sponsoring agency. May be repeated for credit. The Staff

Additional Electives (see Catalog)

  • HAVC 212, Yoruba Visualities and Aesthetics, E. Cameron
  • HAVC 213, Theories and Visual Cultures of Iconoclasm, E. Cameron
  • HAVC 220, Topics in Asian Visual Studies, B. Ly
  • HAVC 222, The Image of Arhat in China, R. Birnbaum
  • HAVC 224, Engaged Buddhism and Visual Culture, B. Ly
  • HAVC 232, The Monument Since 1750 in Relation to Nationhood and the Experience of War, D. Hunter
  • HAVC 235, Photography and History, M. Berger
  • HAVC 240, Seeing Race, M. Berger
  • HAVC 243, Alternative Architecture
  • HAVC 245, Race and Representation, J. Gonzalez
  • HAVC 250: The Cult of Mary in Byzantium: Visualities of Political, Religious and Gender Constructs, M. Evangelatou
  • HAVC 260, Visual Literacy in Spanish American, 1500-1800, C. Dean
  • HAVC 270, Colonial Cultures of Collecting and Display, S. Kamehiro
  • HAVC 280, Visual Studies Issues, C. Dean

The electives listed here constitute just a sampling of the courses open to Visual Studies graduate students. Prospective students are encouraged to consult the graduate course offerings of the departments and programs of Anthropology, Digital Arts and New Media, Film and Digital Media, History, History of Consciousness and Philosophy, whose seminars are also open to our students.


Additional Courses

HAVC 294: Teaching-Related Independent Study
Directed graduate research and writing coordinated with the teaching of undergraduates. Students submit petition to sponsoring agency. May be repeated for credit. The Staff

HAVC 295: Directed Reading
Directed reading that does not involve a term paper. Students submit petition to course-sponsoring agency. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. May be repeated for credit. The Staff

HAVC 299: Thesis Research
Students submit petition to course sponsoring agency. Enrollment restricted tro graduate students. May be repeated for credit. The Staff