Visual Studies Courses

Courses for 2016-17

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, B. Ly / 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. B. Ly

HAVC 204/FILM 204: Grant Writing (Winter)
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.) Visual studies second-year students are required to take this course in addition to HAVC 205, taught in the second part of the same quarter. S. Moore, Arts Division Research Grants Coordinator

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 following HAVC 204, taught in the first part of the same quarter. M. Evangelatou



HAVC 273: Imaging Colonial Peripheries and Borderlands (Fall)
This seminar explores the complex cross-cultural entanglements and exchanges in colonial “peripheries” that produced novel visual and material practices. While paying close attention to the social and political inequalities that resulted from these encounters, the seminar critically examines the construction of colonial categories and the transgression of rigidly defined colonial identities as expressed in visual and material form. Readings and discussions critically examine topics such as: the (in)coherence of cultural, racial, gendered, and religious selves in colonial peripheries and borderlands; bounded categories of “indigene,” “colonial settler,” and “migrant”; mutuality of agency across cultural divides; issues of hybridity, mixture, ethnogenesis, and creolization; debates on post-race; recent scholarship on de-centering the West in colonial studies; and de-colonizing Indigenous studies. While the cultural and geographic scope of the course is fairly broad, there is some emphasis on the visual and material cultures of Oceania (Australia and the Pacific Islands). Subjects for discussion include: Imaging Colonial Histories; Colonial Encounters; Images and Spaces; of Settler Colonialism; Indigeneity & Representation; De-Colonizing Scholarship; Art in Diaspora; Thinking About Terms: Hybridity, Transculturality, Interculturality, & Cultural Translation; Creolization ; Race, Mixed-Race; Post-Race in Colonial Contexts. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. S. Kamehiro

HAVC 236: Contemporary Art and Theories Democracy (Winter)
Democratic principles organize communities, define public space, motivate government policies, and offer utopian possibilities for representation. Over the past several decades, visual and performance artists have actively pursued the idea of “democracy” as a contested social and historical discourse. Exhibitions have been dedicated to democracy, and the question of democracy’s decline has become an important focus of contemporary artworks that situate speaking subjects as iconic figures of citizenship and democratic participation. How have political theories of democracy recently changed? In what ways have they shaped artistic practice? How do race and ethnicity figure in experimental and participatory art projects focused on democracy? Can art create a new kind of democracy? These and other questions will be explored through a close reading of recent political theory in relation to contemporary art. J. Gonzalez

HAVC 235: Photography and History (Postponed to Spring 2018) 
This seminar investigates the complex relationship between photography and history. Through a series of case studies drawn mainly from the U.S. and Western Europe, the seminar probes the possibilities and perils of using photographs as primary evidence. Through readings and discussions, we’ll examine the discursive, structural, and technological forces that condition both the appearance and interpretation of photographs in particular historical moments. The seminar will ultimately expose students to a range of disparate methodologies developed by scholars of literature, anthropology, history, art history, and visual studies for making use of photographs to understand the past.  Enrollment restricted to graduate students. M. Berger

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 240, Seeing Race, M. Berger
  • HAVC 241, Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and Ecology, T. Demos
  • 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