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Visual Studies Courses

Courses for 2017-18

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, K. Parry

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. M. Evangelatou

HAVC 205: Grant Writing (Winter)
Instruction and practice in writing grant proposals. Students work in peer-review groups and in collaboration with the instructor, producing and revising grant proposals, personal statements, CVs, writing samples, and other materials required for successful grant applications. Restricted to Visual Studies students (3 credits, may be repeated for credit). All Visual studies second-year students are required to take this course. M. Evangelatou



HAVC 280: Visual Studies Issues (Winter)

HAVC 280 Examines selected and changing issues in Visual Studies. The specific issue varies with each offering to keep pace with recent directions in scholarship.

The specific issue for Winter 2018 is Aniconology, or the ‘rhetoric of the non-image.’ The goals of the seminar are fourfold: (1) to study a selection of aniconic, or non-figurative, traditions from various historical periods and geographies in order to understand better how aniconicity creates meaning; (2) to critique prominent visual theories, grounded in Western iconocentrism, that fail to address the fundamental differences between imagistic traditions and non-imagistic ones; (3) to understand how pervasive iconocentricism has influenced the reception of non-imagistic art traditions and practices, including the categories ‘abstract art,’ ‘craft,’ and ‘ornament’; and (4) to discuss what might constitute an effective ‘aniconology.’ C. Dean

HAVC 241: Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and Ecology (Spring) 
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, speculative ecological thought, and socially-engaged collaboration, in terms of how they confront the violence and biopolitics of climate change, destruction of ecosystems, and global warming in the age of the Anthropocene.  Enrollment restricted to graduate students. T. Demos

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 233, Topics in Contemporary Art and Visual Culture, D. Murray
  • HAVC 235, Photography and History
  • HAVC 236, Contemporary Art and Theories Democracy, J. Gonzalez
  • 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 273, Imaging Colonial Peripheries and Borderlands, S. Kamehiro

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