2017-18 Catalog

Visual Studies

Students may minor in Visual Studies at Haverford College.

Core Faculty

Imke Brust, Assistant Professor, VCAM Faculty Fellow (2018-2019)
Victoria Funari, Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities (HCAH) Visual Media Scholar
Christina Knight, Assistant Professor, Director of Visual Studies
John Muse, Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities (HCAH) Visual Media Scholar
Lindsay Reckson, Assistant Professor, VCAM Faculty Fellow (2017-2019)
Erin Schoneveld, Assistant Professor, VCAM Faculty Fellow (2017-2018)

The Interdisciplinary Visual Studies minor invites students both to investigate their place in a global system of images and make images, objects, and digital artifacts with critical awareness. Additionally, the program trains students in interdisciplinary rigor and encourages them to examine the relationship between the visual and various structures of power.  

Located in the new Visual Culture, Arts and Media facility (VCAM), Visual Studies links elements of the curriculum, campus, and broader community, highlighting the intersections between courses, faculty, students, departments, and Centers engaging the visual.

Curriculum

The Visual Studies curriculum is organized to help students develop critical and creative engagement with visual experience across media, time, and cultures.
All students are required to take an introductory gateway course and a senior-level capstone course. The introductory course will cover a variety of disciplinary approaches to the field of Visual Studies, and will include guest lectures, field trips for hands-on learning, and an introduction to some form of making. The capstone course will consolidate a student experience of the interdisciplinary minor that integrates visual scholarship, making, and public engagement. Students will select their four elective courses from three categories: Visual Literacy, Labs/Studio Courses and The Ethics of the Visual.
Students interested in the Interdisciplinary Visual Studies Minor should plan their course schedule in consultation with the Director of Visual Studies and with their major advisor. Please note: currently no more than one of the six minor credits may count towards the student’s major.

Minor Requirements

The minor will include six courses:

  • The Introduction to Visual Studies gateway course, offered each fall
  • Four elective courses selected from three categories (please find a current list of approved courses on the Visual Studies website):

Visual Literacy
Courses that encourage students to describe, analyze, and negotiate the visual and the impact of digital and/or material technologies on art, culture, science, commerce, policy, society, and the environment

Labs/Studio Courses
Courses that create curricular opportunities for students to make images, objects, films and digital artifacts and develop a critical awareness of the relationship between process, product, and reception

The Ethics of the Visual
Courses that invite students to examine the relationship between the visual and social structures of power, analyzing the role of images in making consumers and attending to the role that images play in constructing “others” through such categories as race, gender, or disability

  • A Capstone Seminar where students will work in small groups to research and propose a project that engages the larger campus community.

COURSES

NB: In addition to the following list, all courses in cognate departments (Fine Arts at Haverford, History of Art, Museum Studies and Film Studies at Bryn Mawr) will count as electives in the Visual Studies Minor.

VIST H142 INTRODUCTION TO VISUAL STUDIES
An introduction to the trans-disciplinary field of Visual Studies, its methods of analysis and topical concerns. Traditional media and artifacts of art history and film theory, and also an examination of the ubiquity of images of all kinds, their systems of transmission, their points of consumption, and the very limits of visuality itself. Crosslisted: Visual Studies, Fine Arts, Comparative Literature (Offered Fall 2017)

VIST H203 UKIYO-E: THE ART OF JAPANESE PRINTS
This course will explore the evolution of Japanese woodblock prints, artists, collectors, and exhibition practices from the 17th century through the present day. Crosslisted: Visual Studies, East Asian Languages & Cultures (Offered Spring 2018)

VIST H215 REALISM, RACE, AND PHOTOGRAPHY
This course examines American literary realism and turn-of-the-century photography as complementary and sometimes competing practices, with a focus on their complex role in the imaging and imagining of racial identity. Fulfills ACNC concentration requirement. Crosslisted: English, Visual Studies; Prerequisite(s): First-Year Writing, or instructor consent. (Offered Fall 2017)

VIST H229 TOPICS IN VISUAL STUDIES: ROLAND BARTHES AND THE IMAGE
An exploration of the rhetoric of visual culture through an examination of 20th century French critic Roland Barthes’ many writings on photography, film, and what he calls the “civilized code of perfect illusions.” We will spend the semester reading his texts, charting the trajectory of a career that begins with the euphoria of an ever-expanding semiotic and ends with a meditation on the limits of this very project. Crosslisted: Visual Studies, Fine Arts, Comparative Literature (Offered Fall 2017)

VIST H230 POSTWAR JAPANESE CINEMA
This course provides an introduction to Japanese cinema from the immediate Postwar period of 1945 to the present day. Focusing on films by influential directors including Ozu YasujirÅ, Kurosawa Akira, and Mizoguchi Kenji among others we will consider how Japanese filmmakers use cinema to investigate issues of truth, beauty, identity, and nationhood in an attempt to answer fundamental questions regarding life and death in Japan’s Postwar period. Crosslisted: East Asian Languages & Cultures, Environmental Studies, Visual Studies (Offered Spring 2018)

VIST H243 INTRODUCTION TO DOCUMENTARY VIDEO PRODUCTION
The craft and theory of documentary video production. The basics, including use of HD digital cameras, lighting and sound techniques, and nonlinear video editing, culminating in the completion of short documentaries during the semester. Attendance at weekly documentary screenings is required, Thurs 7:00-9:30pm. (Offered Fall 2017)

VIST H258 AMERICAN QUEEN: DRAG IN CONTEMPORARY ART AND PERFORMANCE
An interdisciplinary visual studies examination of queer subcultural performance and its influence on contemporary American culture. Readings include live performance, visual art and film as well as historical and theoretical secondary sources. Crosslisted: Visual Studies, Independent College Programs; Prerequisite(s): An intro course in Gen/Sex or instructor consent. (Offered Fall 2017)

VIST H305 ART AND THE ENVIRONMENT IN EAST ASIA
This course examines the relationship between environment and the arts in China and Japan. In particular, how artists engage with and respond to nature through varied modes of artistic production and exhibition. Crosslisted: East Asian Languages & Cultures, Environmental Studies, Visual Studies (Offered Fall 2017)

VIST H346 TOPICS IN 18TH-CENTURY LITERATURE: NEW(S) MEDIA AND PRINT CULTURE
This course explores a century of polemic and performance in relation to more recent political, formal and legal debates about digital technologies. In particular we will focus on modernity’s shifting visual representations of materiality and circulation; ownership, authority and license; citation, plagiarism and piracy. What structures control systems of knowledge production and dissemination in the eighteenth century and today? Our most ambitious text will be Laurence Sterne’s strange novel Tristram Shandy—a brilliant meditation on experimental fiction, mortality, history, and digression for eighteenth-century and contemporary readers. Interdisciplinary students welcome. Crosslisted: English, Visual Studies Prerequisite(s): One 200-level English course or instructor consent. (Offered Fall 2017)

VIST H353 THE DOCUMENTARY BODY: ADVANCED MEDIA PRODUCTION
The theory and craft of documentary film through an exploration of representations of the body. Students produce short documentaries, hone camera and editing skills, and learn basic producing skills. Students may also explore new media forms. Required weekly screenings, Thurs 7:00-9:30pm. Prerequisite(s): One introductory video production class or equivalent experience or instructor consent. (Offered Spring 2018)

ANTH H112 THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF ARCHITECTURE
A survey of anthropological approaches to architecture, with a particular interest in how architecture expresses senses of place. Readings will cover indigenous and vernacular architecture, the modernist movement, ecological design, and forms of housing. (Offered Fall 2017)

COML H268 ARTISTS UNDER THE POLICING GAZE OF THE STATE: POLITICS, HISTORY, AND PERFORMANCE
An investigation of what permanent surveillance meant and means today for society at large and for individual artists living under its pressure, through interdisciplinary texts on the theory and history of surveillance and artworks in multiple genres and media. Crosslisted: Comparative Literature, Independent College Programs, PJHR (Offered Fall 2017)

EALC H370 ADVANCED TOPICS IN BUDDHIST STUDIES: THE VISUAL CULTURE OF PURE LAND BUDDHISM
Advanced course on a topic chosen annually by instructor. The purpose of this course is to give students with a basic background in Buddhist Studies deeper conversancy with a particular textual, thematic, or practice tradition in the history of Buddhism. The 2017-2018 iteration will focus on Pure Land Buddhism, and especially on visual culture and iconology. Prerequisite(s): EALC 201 or instructor consent. (Offered Fall 2017)

FREN H212 GRAMMAIRE AVANCÉE: COMPOSITION ET CONVERSATION
The principal objective of this course is to allow its participants to master the techniques of composition and to write with a growing ease in order to express themselves with pertinent and original ideas. Students will contribute to the creation of an online news blog and will experiment with writing different genres of journalism, as well as editing a televised news segment. Assigned readings on current news and films will be the subject of discussion. The course will allow students to improve their written and oral French, to revise certain important aspects of French grammar, to develop their analytical and critical senses, and to develop their knowledge of French and francophone culture. Prerequisite(s): FREN  101 and 102/105, or 005 and 102/105. (Offered Fall 2017)

HIST H264 MATERIALITY AND SPECTACLE IN NINETEENTH CENTURY UNITED STATES
Spectacles reflect, influence, and change cultural experiences, meaning, and understanding. This course will consider the materiality of spectacular nineteenth century US events through critical examination of historical accounts, primary research, and close readings of objects. Crosslisted: Anthropology, History (Offered Fall 2017)

MUSC H254 TONES, WORDS, AND IMAGES
This course is designed around a core group of works that demonstrate musical interaction with a variety of media such as literary and dramatic text, visual art and architecture, and the physical movement of dance. Drawing from the rich resource of Western tradition, examples for study range from the German Lied of the Classical and Romantic periods to the contemporary collaborations of Philip Glass and filmmaker Godfrey Reggio. Along the way we encounter many of the principal currents in the development of the arts–impressionism, symbolism, expressionism, pointillism, verismo, abstraction–and the genres of song cycle, opera, melodrama, tone poem, ballet, theater and film. (Offered Fall 2017)

RELG H303 RELIGION, LITERATURE AND REPRESENTATION: IMAGES OF KRISHNA
This course approaches the Hindu god Krishna through varied expressions in architecture, sculpture, paintings, textiles, landscape design, poetry, music, dance, and drama. We will ask how these practices were employed to visualize the divine, to nurture faith and passion, and to gain proximity to the transcendent deity. Class work will include field trips to local temples and museums. (Offered Fall 2017)

SPAN H210 SPANISH AND SPANISH AMERICAN FILM STUDIES
Exploration of films in Spanish from both sides of the Atlantic. The course will discuss approximately one movie per class, from a variety of classic and more recent directors such as Luis Buñuel, Carlos Saura, Pedro Almodóvar, Lucrecia Martel among others. The class will focus on the analysis of cinematic discourses as well as the films’ cultural and historic background. The course will also provide advanced language training with particular emphasis in refining oral and writing skills. This course is conducted in Spanish. Crosslisted: Spanish, Comparative Literature; Prerequisite(s): SPAN 102, or placement, or instructor consent. (Offered Fall 2017)

WRPR H118 PORTRAITS OF DISABILITY AND DIFFERENCE  
In this seminar we will explore visual and literary portraits and self-portraits of bodies marked by difference, bodies that often elicit stares. We will ask: What kinds of stories are told about these bodies? How do memoirs and self-portraits by people with disabilities draw on and challenge traditions of life writing and portraiture? How does this work enlarge cultural and aesthetic views of embodiment, disability, and difference? Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Offered Fall 2017)