You are here

Visual Studies Courses

Courses for 2022-23

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. J. Gonzalez

HAVC 204: Grant Writing, Pedagogy, and Professional Development (Fall) 
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. S. Kamehiro


HAVC 241: Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and Ecology (Fall)
What role do cultural practitioners—artists, activists, new media programmers, architects, theorists—play in relation to today’s manifold socio-environmental crises? This graduate seminar considers the diverse ways visual culture intersects with environment in a global framework with roots in racial and colonial capitalism. We will explore subjects such as the financialization of nature, climate change as class struggle, rights of nature discourse, and Indigenous ecologies and anti-pipeline resistance. The class examines aesthetic practices including experimental documentary, socially-engaged collaboration, and social movement formations in terms of how they confront the violence and biopolitics of extractivism and fossil capitalism in the age of the Anthropocene/Capitalocene/Chthulucene.. T. Demos

HAVC 249: How to Do Things with Pictures: Media, Culture, and Performance (Winter)
Interdisciplinary and open-ended, this seminar explores the performative dimensions of art, language, new media, and visual cultures. We will investigate approaches to performance and action across multiple fields, from philosophy, queer theory, and politics to anthropology, performance studies, and elsewhere. We will think through the histories, ambitions, constraints, and transformations of theories of performance and performativity. 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

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 233, Visuality, Blackness, and the Human, D. Murray
  • 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 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