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Visual Studies Courses

Courses for 2019-20

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. D. Murray

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. M. Evangelatou

HAVC 204: Grant Writing (Fall)
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. All visual studies second-year students are required to take this course. E. Cameron


HAVC 242: Radical Futurisms (Fall)

There is widespread consensus that we are living at the end—of democracy, of liberalism, of capitalism, of a cool planet, of the Holocene, of civilization as we know it. Catastrophic environmental breakdown, mass species extinction, financial collapse, global nuclear war, apocalyptic populism, racist separatism—the diagnoses are seemingly endless, prompting multiple questions: What hopes for survival, how can we imagine the unimaginable, and what will life look like beyond the many ends portrayed in pop-culture, dystopian sci-fi, political commentary, Indigenous worldviews, and post-anthropocentric philosophies? Addressing this urgent, multifarious, and world-historical subject, this seminar addresses comparative futurisms articulated within disparate sociopolitical domains in an effort to imagine—with the help of visual cultural and aesthetic practices introduced aside theoretical positions—what comes after the end of the world. T. Demos

HAVC 282: Art of Independence, Liberation and the Cold War (Winter)

The Struggles for Independence and Liberation from colonial regimes reached a highpoint in the 1960s when some 20 or so African countries became independent. These movements in many ways created the post-colonial world we live in today, one in which the arts played a major role. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 the Cold War (between the West and the Soviet Union) came to an end (at least that was what was thought at the time!) Artists formed in this period continue to reflect on the legacy of the Cold War and Communism. More recently younger artists have turned to this period of dramatic opposition, when socialism was an effective ideology, for inspiration.

This course explores this terrain by examining several international exhibitions that I have been involved with as curator and co-curator which focus on these themes. Methodologically the course views these exhibitions as visual and discursive culture. Rather than offering an ‘understanding’ of the exhibitions and works under review this course uses these exhibitions to explore questions that artists continue to ask about their position in the social order as well as the appropriate aesthetics for exploring these. The exhibitions referred to are all in a sense ‘research exhibitions’, taking a number of related questions and exploring them through a curatorial process. Our work in this seminar will also have a research focus. M. Nash

HAVC 220: Hair in the Arts and Visual Culture of Asia and Beyond (Spring)

This course focuses on human hair as material and sight of power, race, gender and sexuality in the arts and visual culture of Asia and beyond. Due to the export of cheap labor, the processing, making, and selling of both natural and synthetic hair is part of global capital flow. This course is broadly designed to welcome graduate students from all academic disciplines to participate and to engage with this theme in their respective area of research. Participants will be asked to share selected scholarly readings on this topic in their area of research. B. Ly

HAVC 249: How to Do Things with Pictures: Media, Culture, and Performance (Spring)

This is an interdisciplinary exploration of the performative dimensions of art, visual culture, and new media. We will investigate theories of performance and action across multiple fields, from philosophy to anthropology to queer theory, and we will consider the relevance of those theories to themes, problems, and contexts of interest to those enrolled. K. Parry

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
  • 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 273, Imaging Colonial Peripheries and 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