Visual Studies Courses

Courses for 2013-14

Core Courses:

HAVC 201: Introduction to Visual Studies (Fall)
Introduces the visual studies discipline and the History of Art and Visual Culture Department, providing students with an overview of the field's development, its issues of central concern, and its dominant research methods. Features intensive readings, student-led discussions, and exposure to some of the primary texts instrumental in the development of the field. Required seminar for all first-year visual studies graduate students. B. Ly

HAVC 202: Theories of the Visual (Winter)
Offers detailed theoretical readings to familiarize students with the methodological frameworks and debates that laid the groundwork for the field as well as those that have proven productive for practitioners of visual studies. (Formerly Critical Theory.)  D. Murray

HAVC 203: Theories and Histories of Seeing (Spring)
Each spring quarter this course makes use of a different cultural case study to sensitize students to the historically specific paradigms that have guided human vision (and to illustrate the ways in which particular societies consciously conceptualized vision). The society under consideration will change each year, depending on the research interests of the faculty member teaching the course. Students will take the course twice. 

Spring 2014 version of 203: Becoming El Greco: Exploring Identity Between Authorship and Enculturation
El Greco (1541-1614) was born Domenikos Theotokopoulos and trained as an icon painter according to the Byzantine tradition, studied with the Italian masters, and died as one of the pre-eminent painters of imperial Spain. His unique life journey and his idiosyncratic art provide the perfect opportunity to discuss issues of authorship and enculturation and to explore the intricate interplay between personal intentions, social constrains and cultural expectations as forces formative of the creative process. The course will be based on theoretical readings concerning identity and authorship, a critical study of El Greco scholarship, and a discussion of the artist's cultural context, including image theories of his time. Students will be responsible for in-class presentations on issues of self-perception and self-presentation in the work of an artist. M. Evangelatou

HAVC 204: Grant Writing (Winter and 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.) E. Cameron and C. Martin Shaw


HAVC 235: Photography and History (Fall)
This seminar investigates the complex relationship between photography and history. With weekly case studies focused on U.S. society—plus a couple that address European and Asian contexts—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 for making use of photographs to recover the past. M. Berger

HAVC 245: Race and Representation (Spring)
Explores how human subjects come to be visually defined and marked by "race" discourse. Covers diverse theoretical literatures on the topic, primarily in visual studies, but also in cultural studies, post-colonial studies, and psychoanalysis. J. Gonzalez

Additional Electives (see Catalog)

  • HAVC 212, Yoruba Visualities and Aesthetics, E. Cameron
  • HAVC 213, Theories and Visual Cultures of Iconoclasm, E. Cameron
  • HAVC 220, Queer Theory and Visual Culture of Southeast Asia and its Diaspora, 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 233, Critical Race Visual Studies
  • HAVC 240, Seeing Race, M. Berger
  • HAVC 245, Race and Representation, J. Gonzalez
  • HAVC 250, The Cult of Mary in Byzantium, M. Evangelatou
  • HAVC 260, Visual Literacy in Spanish American, 1500-1800, C. Dean
  • HAVC 270, Colonial Cultures of Collecting and Display, 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.

Independent Study

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 297: Independent Study
Independent study or research for graduate students. Students submit petition to sponsoring agency. 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