Timeroom: Spring 2022

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AMST 444C (H01) - Picturing America: The Arts & Social Change

Honors/Picturing America

Credits: 4.0
Term: Spring 2022 - Full Term (01/25/2022 - 05/09/2022)
Grade Mode: Letter Grading
Class Size:   20  
CRN: 56789
How has the camera shaped the way we see ourselves, and the world around us? How are photographers and writers--sometimes self-consciously and sometimes unwittingly affected by the definitions of what it means to be an American? What does something American look like? In this class, we'll try to answer that question in all its complexity by looking at both photographic and written documents, from the late nineteenth century, when photography was a relatively new technology, to the present. How can we "read" a photograph? What kinds of ethical and aesthetic concerns are involved in recording "reality?" What is the relationship between art and social concerns? How do photographs tell stories, and with what consequences?
Only the following students: Honors Program
Attributes: Writing Intensive Course, Inquiry (Discovery), Honors course, Fine&PerformingArts(Discovery)
Instructors: Lisa MacFarlane
Start Date End Date Days Time Location
1/25/2022 5/9/2022 TR 2:10pm - 3:30pm HS 108
Additional Course Details: 

How does the camera shape the way we see ourselves, and the world around us?  How do we "read" a photograph?  What kinds of ethical and aesthetic concerns are involved in recording "reality?"  What is the relationship between art and social concerns?  How do photographs tell stories, and with what consequences?  In what ways do photographers borrow literary or political or scientific imagery, and how do writers and scholars in other fields borrow photographic techniques?  How does thinking visually change the way we read?  How have photographers--sometimes self-consciously and sometimes unwittingly--affected the definitions of what it means to be an American?  What does something “American” look like, anyway?  In this class, we'll try to answer these questions—provisionally, to be sure--in all their complexity by focusing on a single and iconic American archive:  the photographs of and by indigenous people from the early days of photographic technology to the present. As we do so, we’ll bear in mind that images not only document a moment in time but also are catalysts for reinterpreting and reclaiming suppressed histories, compelling us to re-examine what Lucy Lippard calls “the byways of theoretical tourism.”