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Visual Studies Courses

Courses for 2021-22

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. B. Ly

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. T. Demos

HAVC 204: Grant Writing (Fall) - Postponed to 2022-23
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. 


HAVC 264: Contemporary Native American Art (Winter) - CANCELLED
In this graduate level seminar students will read current publications on the work of contemporary Native American artists. Students will explore the relationship of artists with the art market and how artists respond to shifting patterns in collecting. Through case studies of specific artists, students will consider the parameters that shape artistic production such as economic downturns, collector interests, gallery sales, and museum commissions. Students will also examine the role of Native art in addressing Indigenous futurisms and traditional ecological knowledge. The issue of identity will be explored not only in terms of non-Native expectations, but also fraud committed by non-Native artists’ attempts at profiting off false claims of indigeneity.  Y. Chavez

HAVC 230: Race, Aesthetics, and Art in Eighteenth-Century Europe (Spring)
This seminar will look at the connections to be made among theories of beauty, practices of art- making, the production of knowledge about the natural world, and the construction of race in the second half of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century. In Europe, this was a period that gave rise to aesthetics as a branch of philosophy, several theories of the origins of human difference, debates over the abolition of slavery, and no fewer than fifteen expeditions to the Pacific. This course will investigate the crucial role that pictures play in all of these developments. Students will not be required to write their research papers on eighteenth-century art, but they should consider the course’s central questions: What purposes do the various conceptions of race serve? What are the aesthetic assumptions made by theorists of race? How do models of making art impact European ideas about people who are foreign to them? Finally, as scholars of visual culture, how can we challenge race as a visuality? 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 desctiptions)

  • 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 242, Radical Futurisms, T. Demos
  • HAVC 243, Alternative Architecture
  • HAVC 244, Reinventing 'Reinventing Nature': Visual Culture and Environmentalism, circa 1995, A. Narath
  • HAVC 245, Race and Representation, J. Gonzalez
  • HAVC 249, Media 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
  • HAVC 282: Art of Independence, Liberation and the Cold War, M. Nash

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