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COMM 2014

Visibility, Circulation, and the Everyday Life of Images

  • Spring 2024

This course begins with the question: what do images do in the world? Images can be interpreted, read, and decoded. Their meanings also shift, as images are mobile, fluid, and plastic objects, taking on a life of their own as they circulate. Images operate in diverse media ecologies, as photographs and advertisements, in films and videos. They are reproduced on multiple media technologies including TV, cinema, and the internet. Images can further ideologies including but not limited to colonialism, nationalism, imperialism, producing racialized, sexualized, classed, and gendered differences. At the same time, images are mutable forces and can be bent for purposes of self-fashioning as well as disrupting, subverting, and exposing structures of power. Through close readings, assignments and in-class activities, students in this class will learn to critically evaluate and contextualize images both historically and in contemporary forms of circulation. Students will develop a nuanced understanding of images as potent objects of communication with powerful political and social effects, and of the ways in which people incorporate them in daily practices.