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What is Visual Studies? 

This seminar challenges students to develop independent ideas about how the eye, mind, and image work together to inform our conception of the world. By asking “What is visual studies?”, we will examine various approaches to the myriad, and sometimes opposing, ways that human beings understand sight, the concept of visuality, and visual technologies. We will also discuss the politics of vision, of looking, and of not being seen by considering ways that race, gender, sexuality, ability, and class impact vision and its study.

Through a synthetic approach to the problem of vision, we will examine various aspects of the interplay among art, visual perception, cognition, theories of vision and their history, and the history of visual practices. Students will discuss and write about various approaches to vision, bridging together far-flung and near-neighbor disciplines—including cognitive science, psychology, philosophy, art history.

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