Historiography, Theory and Methods in Visual Culture

ART HIST 801: Historiography, Theory and Methods in Visual Culture

Professor Jill Casid

T 4:00PM – 6:30PM


This seminar is the core requirement for the Doctoral Minor and Graduate certificate in the study of visual cultures, a field in which analytic attention to gender, sexuality and race is integral. The seminar charts the formation and history of the dynamic, multi-stranded, and still changing field in its critical dialogue with cultural studies, critical race theory and black study, feminist theory, queer theory, trans studies and theory, disability studies and crip theory and performance studies. It seeks to build a practice-based knowledge of the theories and methods important to the field’s formation as well as those driving the field’s future. You will develop a set of skills in critical reading, research, analysis, writing, and presentation (including visual presentation methods) that will be of use to you throughout graduate school and in your professional life beyond. Toward these goals, the course has three main dimensions. As your introduction to the Doctoral Minor and Graduate Certificate here, the course will take advantage of the programming of the Center for Visual Cultures to frame your encounter with the leading questions driving the field, assist in facilitating the formation of a network and intellectual community, and help point you toward the research resources here that may support your work As your introduction to practices in the study of visual cultures, the course explores the controversies that drove the field’s formation, its complex relations to various disciplines and the issues, challenges, and debates fueling the ongoing transformations of the field. The readings are necessarily selective and partial. Thus, you are encouraged to use the syllabus as a map leading you to deepen your knowledge through further study. As a practicum, the seminar also emphasizes the development of essential skills in critical reading and analysis, primary and secondary research methods, the writing of various kinds of professional prose, oral presentation, and oral response to questions that are vital to your success in graduate study and future viability in the field. In addition to weekly readings and discussion, work for the course will include the generation of burning questions as the catalysts of inquiry, examining and analyzing the visual, producing and delivering oral presentations, and writing work that corresponds to specific kinds of professional writing. As this course is designed to enhance your professional formation, you are strongly encouraged to navigate the course architecture of readings and assignments according to the needs and dictates of your own research and developing areas of specialization.