Visual Culture

Level: 
Doctoral
Course Status: 
Elective
CEU credits: 
2
ECTS credits: 
4
Academic year: 
2011/2012
Semester: 
Fall
Start and end dates: 
21 Sep 2011 - 14 Dec 2011
Instructor(s): 
Gerhard Jaritz
Learning Outcomes: 
Ability to synthesize and contextualize information. Assessment: oral presentation and its written version Ability to employ higher-order thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
Assessment : 
Regular class attendance is necessary. All seminar members are expected to be active participants in the course. Each class will be considered with the discussion of the assigned readings. Credits and marks are given on the basis of class participation (40%) and an oral presentation (30%) that also has to be submitted in writing (in the form of a short publishable article) (30%).

Studies of Visual Culture represent much more than research into images or works of art.  They are based on transdisciplinary and cross-faculty approaches concerning a variety of aspects that constitute the visual world as well as its perception and creation by humans. Therefore, they also mean a particular broadening of attention.

The course is meant to show the importance of this field of research for Medieval Studies and the possibilities of contextualized application of Visual Culture-research. It deals with functions, influences and meanings of visual objects as well as with possible approaches to analyze them.

We will deal with the differences of Art History and Visual Studies as well as with their interdependence. Questions of the rhetoric of visual evidence, of seeing and reading, of the performance of visual artefacts as well as their sign language(s) will regularly determine our discussions. We may become aware of the situation that “visual studies – in recognition of new and newly rediscovered constellations of visual objects in use – proposes that we leave ourselves open to improvisation and surprise.” (James D. Herbert) 

Weekly outline and readings

Week 1          
Visual Culture(s), I

Readings: W.J.T. Mitchell, “What is Visual Culture?,” in Visual Culture. Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies, vol. I: What is Visual Culture Studies?, ed. Joanne Morra and Marquard Smith (London and New York: Routledge, 2006), 298-311

James D. Herbert, “Visual Culture/Visual Studies,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff, 2nd ed. (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 452-464

Week 2          
Functions of Visual Evidence

Readings: W.J.T. Mitchell, What do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2005), 28-56: “What do Pictures Want?”

Bernhard Ridderbos, “The Social Function of the Ghent Altarpiece,” in Vision in Text and Image. The Cultural Turn in the Study of Arts, ed. Herman W. Hoen and Mary G. Kemperink (Leuven et al.: Peeters, 2008), 33-52

Week 3          
Images of Art Historians vs. Images of Historians?

Readings: Jean-Claude Schmitt, “Images and the historian,” in History and Images. Towards a New Iconology, ed. Axel Bolvig and Phillip Lindley (Turnhout: Brepols, 2003), 19-44

Keith Moxey, “Nostalgia for the real: the troubled relation of art history to visual culture,” in History and Images. Towards a New Iconology, ed. Axel Bolvig and Phillip Lindley (Turnhout: Brepols, 2003), 45-55

Week 4          
The Rhetoric of Visual Artefacts

Roland Barthes, “Rhetoric of the image,” in Visual Culture: The Reader (London et al.: Sage Publications, 1999), 33-40

Keith Moxey, “Reading the ‘Reality Effect’,” in Pictura quasi fictura: Die Rolle des Bildes in der Erforschung von Alltag und Sachkultur des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit, ed. Gerhard Jaritz (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1996), 15-21

Week 5          
Seeing and Reading

Readings: Michael Camille, “Extract from ‘Seeing and Reading: Some Visual Implications of Medieval Literacy and Illiteracy,’” in Visual Culture. Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies, vol. IV: Experiences in Visual Culture, ed. Joanne Morra and Marquard Smith (London and New York: Routledge, 2006), 18-27

Elisa­­beth Sears, “‘Reading’ Images,” in Reading Medieval Images. The Art Historian and the Object, ed. eadem and Thelma K. Thomas (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002), 1-7

Week 6          
Communication

Readings: Ernst H. Gombrich, “The Visual Image: Its Place in Communication,” in The Essential Gombrich. Selected Writings on Art and Culture, ed. Richard Woodfield ( London: Phaidon Press, 1996), 41-64

Margaret Olin, “Gaze,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff, 2nd ed. (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 318-29

Week 7          
Performances

Readings: Herbert L. Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Peterborough et al: Broadview Press, 2004), 151-64 and 229-36: “Performance”

Volker Mertens, “Visualizing Performance? Music, Word, and Manuscript,” in Visual Culture in the German Middle Ages, ed. Kathryn Starkey and Horst Wenzel (New York and Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 135-58

Week 8          
Signs, Symbols and Allegories

Readings: Jan-Dirk Müller, “Writing – Speech – Image: The Competition of Signs,” in Visual Culture in the German Middle Ages, ed. Kathryn Starkey and Horst Wenzel (New York and Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 35-52

Keith Moxey, “Hieronymus Bosch and the ‘World Upside Down”: The Case of The Garden of Earthly Delights,” in Visual Culture. Images and Interpretations, ed. Norman Bryson, Michael Ann Holly, and Keith Moxey (Hanover and London: Wesleyan University Press, 1994), 104-40

Week 9          
Gender

Readings: Whitney Davis, “Gender,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff, 2nd ed. (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 330-44

Michael Camille, “Bodies, Names and Gender in a Gothic Psalter (Paris BNF, ms lat. 10435),” in The Illuminated Psalter. Studies in the Content, Purpose and Placemenent of its Images, ed. F.O. Büttner (Turnhout: Brepols, 2004), 377-86

Week 10        
(Visual) Culture on/of the treet

Readings: Michael Camille, “At the sign of the ‘Spinning Sow’: the ‘other’ Chartres and images of everyday life of the medieval street,” in History and Images. Towards a New Iconology, ed. Axel Bolvig and Phillip Lindley (Turnhout: Brepols, 2003), 249-76

Christopher Ocker, “Taverns and the Self at the Dawn of the Reformation,” in Image and Imagination of the Religious Self in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ed. Reindert Falkenburg, Walter S. Melion, and Todd M. Richardson (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), 215-36

Week 11        
Margins?

Readings: Michael Camille, Image on the Edge. The Margins of Medieval Art (London: Reaktion Books, 1995), 36-47: “Pricks, Prayers and Puns”

Juhan Kreem, Sketches of a Clerk. Pen-and-Ink Drawings in the Margins of the Medieval Account Books of Reval (Tallinn) (Krems: Medium Aevum Quotidianum, 2006), 9-36

Week 12        
Visual Culture(s), II:

Readings: W.J.T. Mitchell, “Showing Seeing: A Critique of Visual Culture,” in Art History, Aesthetics, Visual Studies, ed. Michael Ann Holly und Keith Moxey (Williamstown MA:  Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2002), 231-250