ENGLISH 432 - Studies in Visual Culture
Section: 001 Visual Fictions: Photography and 20/21c American Literature
Term: FA 2019
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

The rise of photography in the 19th and early 20th centuries participated in an extraordinary creative period in both visual and literary cultures of the time. The force of new kinds of images and icons was immediate and transformative. Photographs were used in a wide range of ways during this period, from multimedia art forms (collage) to new surveillance methods (mug shots and passport photos) to advertising, journalism, family and personal mementos, among others. This was also the era of mass movements of people (immigration and migration). This course will provide an introduction to the emergence of photography as a popular and artistic medium in the 20th century US, which we will put in dialogue with the literary and cultural movements of realism, modernism, postmodernism, and contemporary globalism. We’ll read key instances of photographic theory and ask how they can also illuminate trends in 20th and 21st century US novels. Some questions we’ll consider include: How did novels respond to the emergence of photography as a new visual medium? How might novels be read as competing and collaborating with photography? How might literary narrative have informed the trends and techniques of photography? How did (and do, today) photography and literary narrative respond to the social tensions around immigration and racialization? We will read works by a wide range of US novelists and photographers, likely including Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Ishmael Reed, Norma Cantú, Teresa Cha, Aleksandar Hemon, Claudia Rankine, Ben Lerner, Ransom Riggs, Sesshu Foster, and Teju Cole.

Course Requirements:

Short reading responses, two essays, and a midterm and final exam.

Intended Audience:

All students, particularly those interested in visual culture and literature

ENGLISH 432 - Studies in Visual Culture
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
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