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Visual Studies Courses

Courses for 2023-24

Core Courses:

HAVC 201AIntroduction to Visual Studies and Critical Theory (Fall)
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. The course features intensive readings and student-led discussions. Students work on three short papers on topics of their choice that relate to the broader issues discussed in class. Required seminar for all first-year visual studies graduate students. C. Dean

HAVC 202: Introduction to Visual Studies Methods (Winter) 
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. A. Narath

HAVC 204: Grant Writing, Pedagogy, and Professional Development (Fall 2024) 
Students work on grants for educational support, dissertation funding, or both; learn about effective, accessible, and equity-minded TA- and GSI-related pedagogy (including developing course content, logistics, assessment, and grading criteria); and cultivate professional skills in relation to the publication process, CV preparation, and gaining employment in academia and beyond. 


HAVC 233: Visuality, Blackness, and the Human (Fall)
This course will focus on recent approaches to identity and the visual, with a specific emphasis on intersectional and comparative approaches to the politics of representation. The seminar will explore recent scholarly approaches engaged with the representation of African-American/African-Diasporic culture and identity, with a specific emphasis on the visualization of blackness. Utilizing cross-disciplinary and intersectional methodologies, students will be exposed to the evolving critical discourses concerned with blackness and the human. Students will also learn about a range of media and visual forms, from contemporary art practices, to popular representation (film, television, Internet-based, and material culture). Thematically, the seminar will look at gender, race, and sexuality as intersecting phenomena—and as lived experiences that are intertwined and co-occurring. Among the topics covered are: Black Queer Visual Culture; Afro-Pessimism; Racial Capitalism; Post Blackness and its Discontents; African-American Visual Satire; Anti-Black Violence and Visuality; Race and Horror; Gender and the Visual; Racial Fetishism and Afro-Futurism. D. Murray

HAVC--- Visualizing Waterways and Water Ways (Spring)
In this seminar, we will look at visual culture from 1500 to the present--a span that has witnessed cultural exchange and exploitation carried out over bodies of water--in conversation with texts about the relationship between material practices and water spaces. This aquatic focus will allow us to learn together across a broad range of materials, periods, and geographies, calling into question static boundaries. Many of our sessions will focus on the robust scholarship about the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, but we will also consider coasts, rivers, and watercraft. Thematic units will include Black Feminism and the Visible Atlantic, Mapping Coasts and Empires, Urban Littorals in Europe and Asia, Water Ecologies in South Asia, Negotiating Rivers in the Americas, and recent scholarship (including from this department) regarding Pacific Island Worlds. K. Polzak

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

Electives Not Offered in the Current Year (see Catalog for descriptions)

  • 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 224, Engaged Buddhism and Visual Culture, B. Ly
  • HAVC 230: Race, Aesthetics, and Art in Eighteenth-Century Europe, K. Polzak
  • HAVC 236, Contemporary Art and Theories Democracy, J. Gonzalez
  • HAVC 241, Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and Ecology, T. Demos
  • HAVC 242, Radical Futurisms, T. Demos
  • HAVC 244, Reinventing 'Reinventing Nature': Visual Culture and Environmentalism, circa 1995, A. Narath
  • HAVC 245, Race and Representation, J. Gonzalez
  • HAVC 249: How to Do Things with Pictures: Media, Culture, and Performance, K. Parry
  • 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 Borderlands, 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, Literature 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 and is usually for qualifying exam preperation. 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