...And here's the (abridged) syllabus for Eye Openers: Introduction to Visual Studies:
California College of the Arts
Eye Openers: Introduction to Visual Studies
1111 Eight Street, San Francisco, California
Meeting Place & Time
Graduate Ctr Bldg 1, Room GC1
Tuesday 04:00PM - 07:00PM
Eye openers are flashes of insight. As an introduction to Visual Studies, this course will relate the historical and theoretical study of visual culture - from painting, photography, graphic design, architecture, and film - to contemporary life, popular culture, mass media, new media, advertising, and communication. Topics we will discuss in class are the effect of consumer culture on our habits and surroundings; the impact of communication technologies such as the internet and television on our understanding of and approach towards the world; the question of identity in subcultures and as it is expressed in visual media such as graphic novels (e.g. Adrian Tomine's urban stories); and the effect of the politics of art production, display, and criticism on contemporary artists. The goal of this class is to develop techniques of critical analysis and interpretation of visual phenomena and to learn to understand the complex social, cultural and political power structures that govern them.
Classes will consist of lectures, screenings of videos and documentaries, in-class discussions, and student presentations. Students are required to read and discuss various texts, submit written responses, take two in-class quizzes, create and present in class a mid-term visual culture critique, write and present in class a final research paper.
1. Students will develop a general understanding of visual studies
a. Understand the vocabulary and methods of visual studies
b. Understand how visual culture affects the representation of identity and difference
c. Recognize the interdisciplinary nature of visual studies
2. Students will develop skills for analyzing visual culture from a visual and critical perspective
a. Ethics: Recognize visual studies as an ideological practice
b. Critical Analysis: Use principles of visual studies to analyze works of visual culture
c. Cultural Diversity: Develop an understanding of cultural diversity in relation to the representation and power
3. Students will develop projects and class presentations using principles of visual studies
a. Research: Engage in research and organize content in a clear, concise and logical manner
b. Visual Literacy: Demonstrate the ability to analyze and compare works of visual culture using principles of visual studies
c. Written, Oral, Visual Communication: Present projects in a professional manner as a final paper and an oral presentation with visual images.
Classroom Conduct & Attendance Guidelines
Attendance is mandatory. Students are required to attend the full length of all classes, turn in all assignments, and participate in weekly discussions. Students are responsible for obtaining all hand-outs, information, and notes provided in class. Each unexcused absence will result in a penalty that may be equivalent to the lowering of the final grade by one-half letter grade per absence. There are no make-up presentations or assignments. Three tardy arrivals (15 minutes after class begins) will equal one absence. Students who are habitually late or absent from three or more classes will receive a failing grade. If more than one class is missed due to illness you must submit written verification from a physician and notify professor via e-mail or in writing immediately. Written medical documents must be submitted within two weeks of an absence. In class policy: Computers may only be used for in-class presentations. Students cannot use electronic devices during class.Note-taking on a laptop is not allowed. Cell phones should always be shut off.
Required Textbook and Class Blog
a) Marita Sturken & Lisa Cartwright, Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture, Oxford: Oxford Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-19-531440-3
Please note: We will use the second edition of Practices of Looking, published in 2009. The book was originally released in 2000.
b) Adrian Tomine, Shortcomings, Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2009. ISBN 978-1897299753
c) Adrian Tomine, Summer Blonde, Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2009. ISBN 978-1896597577
Additional essays/texts – both required and optional – will be available on a weekly basis on the class blog.
Course Content: Important notice
The visual culture artifacts we will be covering in this course include some works that are sexually explicit, culturally controversial and/or politically provocative. Some individuals may find these works disturbing or even offensive. Such works are included because they represent significant aspects of visual culture. They present important challenges to artistic conventions, social norms, standards of beauty, and definitions of culture. Students will not be asked to subscribe to any particular definition of visual culture, nor will they be required to like all the works shown. However, if you choose to take this course, you will be expected to understand the issues involved and why they are important. If you have any special concerns, please discuss them with the professor.
Students will be required to submit a considerable amount of written assignments. Specifically
- 6 written entries for the blog
- 1 Mid-Term Project
- 1 Final Project Proposal
- 1 Final Project - A 10-12 page long research paper
Additionally, students will be required to take two in-class quizzes.
1) Written Entries for the Blog
Students will be required to contribute to the online discussion that supplements in-class participation.
Such contribution will take the form of six written entries to the Eye Openers blog.
Each contribution will consist of a weekly posting of approximately 1 page (at least 400 words) reflecting thoughtfully and critically upon the weekly assignment and applying that knowledge to a specific case study provided by the instructor. By thoughtful and critical I mean that your analysis of a text or cultural artifact (e.g. image, website, installation, artwork, advertising, billboard, video etc.) should make full use of the concepts and ideas expressed in the readings. In other words, mere evaluative comments (“I like this”, “I think it’s boring”) based on personal opinion are strongly discouraged.
Additionally, the posting should not be a summary of the reading. Rather you should use this opportunity to construct a solid, convincing argument closely related to the topics explored and discussed in class. In other words, your entries should accomplish two main objectives: 1) they should demonstrate to the instructor that you are effectively analyzing the visual examples you are encountering, and 2) they should indicate that you are connecting ideas or information found in the readings, lectures, and/or class discussions to the examples themselves.
The written assignments must be submitted by email to the instructor no later thanMondays at noon in typed, double-spaced, and spell-checked with complete references (footnotes, bibliography, and illustrations, if available) formatted according to a writing manual of style. Late submission will receive a lower score. All contributions will be posted and the blog to encourage transparency and to foster the conversation.
Evaluation: Blog entries will not receive individual letter grades. Each submission will be given one of the following grades:
- √+ [above average]
- √ [average]
- √- [below average]
- I [incomplete/late/missing]
At the end of the semester, each student receives one letter grade for their contributions as a whole.
Any student who receives an "I" grade for more than three submissions (and has no legitimate medical excuse) fails this assignment for the entire semester.
The blog will be a central feature of this class. Participation does not end in the classroom.
2) In-Class Quizzes
Each student will take two quizzes during the course of the semester. Each quiz will cover course vocabulary terms from Practices of Looking and other course readings. A study list of terms will be provided in advance. No make-up quizzes.
3) Mid-Term Project: Visual Culture Self-Portrait Class Presentation & Paper
Each student is required to produce a Visual Culture Self-Portrait. This self-portrait should include aspects of visual culture (artworks, images, advertisements, objects, places, spaces) that you find compelling, exciting, frustrating or provocative – aspects of visual culture that you feel helps inform and constitute your sense of identity. This self-portrait can take the form of a collage, book, song, poem, webpage, video, infographics, or whatever else you can create and present in class.
- Write a 2-4 page written explanation and visual analysis of this work. This writing should describe what is happening in the self-portrait and analyze the messages and meaning conveyed by the images. This paper should also include a printed representation of the self-portrait.
- Each student will bring in their visual culture self-portrait a give a 5-minute presentation of it in class. If the work is a digital image or a website, students must email the image or website link to the professor at least 24 hours before class presentation. No make-up presentations.
- Students will submit a printed hardcopy of paper and presentation AND copies of the paper and presentation burned on disc (CD-ROM or DVD) with their name. Due Oct 19 2010 at 4 PM. Late submissions will be penalized per day.
4) Final Project
Each student is required to produce an essay based on the topics/areas discussed in class or based on this year's theme, “The Rules of Cool” (full description available below). This essay should include aspects of visual culture (artworks, images, advertisements, objects, places, spaces) that you find compelling, exciting, frustrating or provocative—aspects of visual culture that you feel helps inform, constitute, or dispute your values and ideas on what constitutes "cool" in our contemporary visual culture. The essay should be supplemented by other audiovisual texts, such as collage, book, song, slideshow, website, video, or whatever else you can create and present in class.
The essay should be 10-12 page long and should be critical in nature, that is, analytical and interpretative and not merely descriptive. This writing should analyze a visual culture artifact (or artifacts) using the essays read and discussed in class as a starting point for a poignant investigation. The essay must be submitted by 4 PM on December 14 2010.
The essay should be submitted as a .DOC or .RTF file (no .PDF, please). Additionally, a paper copy should be submitted brevi manu in class.
Each student will be required to give a 10-15-minute presentation to the class. If the work is supplemented by a digital image, video, or website, students must email the supplemental material at least 24 hours before class presentation or submit the material on CD-ROM/DVD before the deadline. No make-up presentations.
Project Proposal due November 16: Students must submit a 1-2 page proposal that provides a detailed description of the final project and outlines plans for research as well as relevant questions and concerns. Like any solid proposal (for a grant or exhibition), this proposal should be persuasive and demonstrate why this project is innovative, compelling and worth pursuing.
On November 30, we will have an in-class discussion, workshop and individual meeting related to your final project. Please bring drafts of final project, and work-in-progress material for review.
Final Project Description: “The Rules of Cool"
"Cool" is the theme for this semester’s final project.
What is cool? Can cool go out of style? Who defines what is cool? Is cool a timeless concept or is it the byproduct of a specific social and cultural processes? Who invented the notion of cool? How are media, artists, entertainers, and corporations creating, promoting, advertising, selling, reinveinting "coolness"?
We will explore the history and development of "coolness" by reading and discussing key contributions from academics, writers, and journalists, including:
- Dick Pountain and David Robins authors of Cool Rules. Anatomy of an Attitude, London, Reaktion Books, 2000;
- Marcel Danesi, author of Cool. The Signs and Meanings of Adolescence, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1994;
- Ted Gioia, author of The Birth and Death of the Cool, Golden, Colorado, Speck Press, 2009;
- Thomas Frank, author of The Conquest of Cool. Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1997;
- Jon Savage, author of Teenage. The Creation of Youth Culture, New York, Viking, 2007;
- George Walden, author of Who is a Dandy? Dandysm & The Regency Dandy George Brummel, London, Gibson Square Books, 2002.
The format of the final project is a 10-12 page essay. The project must be handed in typed, double-spaced, and spell-checked with complete references (footnotes or endnotes, full bibliography, illustrations) formatted according to the CCA writing manual of style.
The paper must be complemented with an in-class oral presentation. The presentation should not be a mere summary of the written essay: students could select one (or more) text(s) in visual culture (image, advertising, film, video game, music video, art installation, venue, website, television show, fashion trend, sport, blog, magazine, etc.) to make their point about "coolness". As for the format of the presentation you can choose between several options: video montages, PowerPoint or similar applications, multimedia shows are more than welcome.
In short, be creative!
Final Project Evaluation Criteria
The final projects will be evaluated on the following criteria: thorough research; clear, logical, and original arguments; critical and creative analysis of visual material supported by visual examples; serious effort, preparation, and engagement in the subject matter. The written component of the projects must be handed in typed, double-spaced, and spell-checked with complete references (footnotes or endnotes, full bibliography, illustrations) formatted according to the CCA writing manual of style. For additional information about the assessment criteria, please consult the following table: Download Visual Studies Assessment Guide
Final Presentations due during last two weeks of class (December 7st and 14th 2010)
Students will give 10-15-minute formal presentations of their final projects during the last two weeks of class. These presentations should include visual material and will be followed by questions and class discussion. Students are required to make appropriate arrangements for showing visual material in advance. Students are required to attend all final presentations. There will be no make-up presentations. Final Projects are due Tuesday December 14th 2010 at 4pm.
For extra credit, students may attend CCA evening public lectures, Wattis exhibitions, or off-campus art exhibitions or art lectures and write a minimum of 1200 words on each lecture or exhibition. This paper should describe the main topic of the talk and discuss questions or points of interest. Again, it should be critical, not evaluative, in nature. Students may submit up to three extra credit papers due by December 7 2010. Each student should discuss the possibility of writing an extra credit paper with the instructor well before submitting it.
The final grade for the course will be determined by evaluation in the following areas:
- Attendance and Participation 15%
- Written Assignment & In-Class Quizzes 25%
- Visual Culture Self-Portrait Presentation & Paper 25%
- Project Proposal 5%
- Final Research Paper/Creative Project 30%
Students are expected to read all assigned texts and be prepared to discuss them in class. All papers, assignments, presentations, and final projects must be completed on time and in full.
Measurement of Student Performance
A 93-100 Clearly stands out as excellent performance
B 83-86 Grasps subject matter at a level considered to be good to very good
C 73-76 Demonstrates a satisfactory comprehension of the subject matter
D 60-66 Quality and quantity of work is below average, marginally acceptable
Failing 59-F Quality and quantity of work is below average and not acceptable
Policy on Academic Honesty (click here for more information)
The reputation of a university and the value of its degrees rest upon the study and research carried on at that institution. The policy for maintaining academic honesty is:
A. Each student is responsible for performing academic tasks in such a way that honesty is not in question.
B. Unless an exception is specifically defined by an instructor, students are expected to maintain the following standards of integrity:
1. All tests, term papers, oral and written assignments are to be the work of the student presenting the material for course credit.
2. Any paraphrase, quotation, or summary (that is, any use of words, ideas, or findings of other persons, writers, or researchers) requires explicit citation of the source.
3. Deliberately supplying material to another student for purposes of plagiarism (to take and pass off as one's own ideas, writings, or work of another) is dishonest.
C. Each instructor is responsible for a learning environment supportive of academic honesty.
1. If a faculty member has reason to suspect academic dishonesty in or out of class, the faculty member should require additional and/or revised work that is unquestionably the work of the student.
2. A faculty member who has proof that academic honesty has been violated should take appropriate disciplinary action, which may include refusal of course credit.
3. A faculty member shall bring to the attention of the Vice President, Academic Affairs, all violations of academic honesty. The Vice President may place on probation, suspend, or expel any student who violates the policy on academic honesty