CCT 510
Module: Institutions of Visual Culture

Spring 2005

Professor Martin Irvine


This module introduces the study of visual culture. How does our current visual culture function the way it does? How are all of our visual languages—from “high” art to TV, movies, and popular culture—organized by institutions of meaning? What is the study of "visual culture"? How is it related to the study of media and communications more generally? What are the recent intellectual contexts, debates, and conversations that have defined this field of study?

Requirements: Class discussion of current experiences of visual culture, a group presentation, and a final short project (around 8 pages) on a topic that allows you to apply approaches or theories discussed in the module.

Schedule for Spring Semester, 2005

  • First all-group class Jan. 18
  • Module 1 (Jan. 25 - Feb.15)
  • Module 2 (Feb. 22 - Mar. 22)
  • Module 3 (Mar. 29 - Apr. 19)
  • Last all-group class 4/26

Topics for Each Week in the Module

Week 1: Introductions: Approaches to the study of Visual Culture

Week 2: Semiotics and the Study of Visual Language

Week 3: Intellectual Traditions in Defining Visual Culture: Benjamin, Debord, Bauddrillard

Week 4: The Function of the Visual Arts and the Artworld as Institution

Go to Preparatory Reading for Week 1