Interdisciplinary Studies Field

Visual Culture

Field Description

The ISF Research Field on Visual Culture incorporates the breadth, depth and complexity of visuality in shaping aesthetics and culture, and also society and politics, in history and today. It presents a broad array of visual objects (from painting to cinema, but also the built environment) encompassing the field of art history and the humanities, and extending to disciplines throughout the social sciences, from geography to anthropology.  By “visual culture”, we study at once the visual display of information in all disciplines and especially visual modes of constituting regimes and orders–inquiries that include the cognitive sciences and psychology.  Visual materials produce and represent social change and historical evidence, are mobilized as legal and scientific proof, used to build and forge identities, and change modes of perception generally.  These are the kinds of interdisciplinary domains for the study of visual culture.

Recent ISF Senior Theses

  • Comparing Love: How Romantic Relationships are Portrayed in Hollywood and Bollywood Movies, 1999-2009
  • Comparing Holocaust and Memorial Sites in Germany, South Africa, Chile and the US
  • Street Art in Tahrir Square
  • Westernizing China Through Images: How the West Influences Chinese Culture Despite Government Controls
  • The Contemporary Spanish Art Film and its Effects on Mexican Cinema
  • In the Eye of the Beholder: The French Art Museum and its Publics
  • Image and Projected Space of Mind: The Role of Image in the Creation of Meaning
  • Shaping Young Women: The Connection Between Photography in Advertising and Rates of Bulimia
  • Politicization of Aesthetics and the Fetish of the Visual: The Veiled Muslim Woman as Sociopolitical Critique in Street Art
  • Bin ich ein Berliner? Identity Construction Through the Use of Public Art and Space in Post-Reunification Berlin
  • The Public Aesthetics of Social Change
  • Appropriating Culture After War: The Street Art Movement in the Post-World War II United States
  • Changing Society Through the Fake: How the Young Use their Imagination for Social Change

Relevant UC Berkeley Courses

  • Practice of Art 119: Global Perspectives in Contemporary Art
  • Rhetoric 114: Rhetoric of New Media–Visual Rhetoric
  • Media Studies 101: Visual Communications
  • Media Studies 170: Cultural History of Advertising
  • Visual Studies 185X: Special Topics: Word and Image
  • History of Art 180C: Nineteenth-Century Europe: The Invention of Avant-Gardes
  • English 173: Language and Literature of Films
  • Anthropology 152: Art and culture
  • Rhetoric 133T: Theories of Film
  • French 175A: Literature and Visual Arts
  • Anthropology 138A: History and Theory of Ethnographic Film
  • Sociology 160: Sociology of Culture

Abel, Elizabeth. 1999. “Bathroom Doors and Drinking Fountains: Jim Crow’s Racial Symbolic.” Critical Inquiry 25(3):435–81.

Adorno, Theodor W. 2001. The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture. Edited by J. M. Bernstein. London and New York: Routledge.

Adorno, Theodor, Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Bertolt Brecht, and Georg Lukacs. 2007. Aesthetics and Politics. London and New York: Verso.

Agamben, Giorgio. 2000. “Notes on Gesture,” “Marginal Notes on Commentaries on the Society of the Spectacle,” and “The Face.” Pp. 49–62, 73–102 in Means Without End: Notes on Politics. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Auslander, Philip. 2008. Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.

Bal, Mieke. 2003. “Visual Essentialism and the Object of Visual Culture.” Journal of Visual Culture 2(1):5–32.

Banet-Weiser, Sarah, Cynthia Chris, and Anthony Freitas, eds. 2007. Cable Visions: Television Beyond Broadcasting. New York: New York University Press.

Barthes, Roland. 1978. Image-Music-Text. New York: Hill and Wang.

Barthes, Roland. 2010. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. New York: Hill and Wang.

Barthes, Roland. 2013. Mythologies. New York: Hill and Wang.

Baudrillard, Jean. 1995. Simulacra and Simulation. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Belting, Hans. 2014. An Anthropology of Images: Picture, Medium, Body. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Benjamin, Walter. 1988. “Rigorous Study of Art: On the First Volume of the Kunstwissenschaftliche Forschungen.” October 47:84–90.

Benjamin, Walter. 1999. “Little History of Photography.” Pp. 506–30 in Walter Benjamin, Selected Writings, Volume 2, 1927-1934, edited by Michael Jennings, Howard Eiland, and Gary Smith. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Benjamin, Walter. 1999. “The Formula in Which the Dialectical Structure of Film Finds Expression.” Pp. 94–95 in Walter Benjamin, Selected Writings, Volume 3, 1935-1938, edited by Howard Eiland and Michael Jennings. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Benjamin, Walter. 2009. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. New York: Classic Books America.

Boorstin, Daniel J. 1992. The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America. New York: Vintage.

Borch-Jacobsen, Mikkel. 1991. “The Statue Man.” Pp. 43–72 in Lacan: The Absolute Master. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1993. The Field of Cultural Production. Edited by Randal Johnson. New York: Columbia University Press.

Boyle, Deirdre. 1997. Subject to Change: Guerrilla Television Revisited. New York: Oxford University Press.

Bradley, Will and Charles Esche, eds. 2008. Art and Social Change: A Critical Reader. London and New York: Tate Publishing.

 

Braudy, Leo and Marshall Cohen, eds. 2009. Film Theory and Criticism. 7th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Bryson, Norman. 1986. Vision and Painting: The Logic of the Gaze. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Bryson, Norman, ed. 1988. Calligram: Essays in New Art History from France. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Buckingham, David. 2000. After the Death of Childhood: Growing Up in the Age of Electronic Media. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Polity Press.

Burgess, Jean and Joshua Green. 2009. YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Polity.

Campbell, Christopher P., Kim M. LeDuff, Cheryl D. Jenkins, and Rockell A. Brown. 2012. Race and News: Critical Perspectives. New York and London: Routledge.

Caplan, Jane, ed. 2000. Written on the Body: The Tattoo in European and American History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Carson, Fiona and Claire Pajaczkowska, eds. 2001. Feminist Visual Culture. New York: Routledge.

Certeau, Michel de. 2011. “Walking in the City.” Pp. 91–110 in The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.

Cheetham, Mark A., Michael Ann Holly, and Keith Moxey. 2005. “Visual Studies, Historiography and Aesthetics.” Journal of Visual Culture 4(1):75–90.

Crary, Jonathan. 2001. Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Crossley, Nick. 1993. “The Politics of the Gaze: Between Foucault and Meleau-Ponty.” Human Studies 16(4):399–419.

Davies, Máire Messenger. 2013. Fake, Fact, and Fantasy: Children’s Interpretations of Television Reality. New York: Routledge.

Davis, Whitney. 2011. A General Theory of Visual Culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Dayan, Daniel and Elihu Katz. 1992. Media Events: The Live Broadcasting of History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Debord, Guy. 2000. Society of The Spectacle. Detroit, MI: Black & Red.

Dewey, John. 2005. Art as Experience. New York: Perigee Trade.

Dikovitskaya, Margaret. 2006. Visual Culture: The Study of the Visual after the Cultural Turn. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Duncombe, Stephen. 2007. Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy. New York: New Press.

Elkins, James, Kristi McGuire, Maureen Burns, Alicia Chester, and Joel Kuennen, eds. 2012. Theorizing Visual Studies: Writing Through the Discipline. New York: Routledge.

Ewen, Stuart. 1990. All Consuming Images: The Politics Of Style In Contemporary Culture. New York: Basic Books.

Feldman, Allen. 1997. “Violence and Vision: The Prosthetics and Aesthetics of Terror in Northern Ireland.” Public Culture10(1):25–60.

Feldman, Allen. 2005. “On the Actuarial Gaze: From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib.” Cultural Studies 19(2):203–26.

Fernie, Eric. 1995. Art History and Its Methods: A Critical Anthology. London: Phaidon Press.

Fisherkeller, JoEllen. 2002. Growing Up with Television: Everyday Learning Among Young Adolescents. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Fleming, Juliet. 2001. Graffiti and the Writing Arts of Early Modern England. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Foucault, Michel. 1994. “Las Meninas.” Pp. 3–16 in The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. New York: Vintage.

Foucault, Michel. 1995. “The Spectacle of the Scaffold” and “Panopticism.” Pp. 32–72 and 195–230 in Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage Books.

Frank, Gustav. 2007. “Layers of the Visual: Towards a Literary History of Visual Culture.” Pp. 76–97 in Seeing Perception, edited by Silke Horstkotte and Karin Leonhard. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Gao, Minglu. 2011. Total Modernity and the Avant-Garde in Twentieth-Century Chinese Art.  Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Gillespie, Marie. 1995. Television, Ethnicity and Cultural Change. London and New York: Routledge.

Gitlin, Todd. 1981. The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Gitlin, Todd. 2000. Inside Prime Time. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Gole, Nilufer. 2002. “Islam in Public: New Visibilities and New Imaginaries.” Public Culture 14(1):173–90.

Gruzinski, Serge. 2001. Images at War: Mexico From Columbus to Blade Runner. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Hall, Stuart, Jessica Evans, and Sean Nixon, eds. 1998. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Harvey, David. 1991. The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Hedges, Chris. 2010. Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. New York: Nation Books.

Heywood, Ian and Barry Sandywell, eds. 1999. Interpreting Visual Culture: Explorations in the Hermeneutics of Vision. London and New York: Routledge.

Hilmes, Michele, ed. 2007. NBC: America’s Network. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Hite, Katherine. 2013. Politics and the Art of Commemoration: Memorials to Struggle in Latin America and Spain. New York: Routledge.

Horowitz, Noah. 2014. Art of the Deal: Contemporary Art in a Global Financial Market. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Hung, Wu. 1996. The Double Screen: Medium and Representation in Chinese Painting. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Jain, Kajri. 2007. Gods in the Bazaar: The Economies of Indian Calendar Art. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books.

Jenks, Chris, ed. 1995. Visual Culture. London and New York: Routledge.

Johnson, Galen A., ed. 1993. The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader: Philosophy and Painting. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Kaes, Anton. 1993. “The Cold Gaze: Notes on Mobilization and Modernity.” New German Critique (59):24–26.

Kellner, Douglas. 1995. Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity and Politics between the Modern and the Post-Modern. London and New York: Routledge.

Kleege, Georgina. 2005. “Blindness and Visual Culture: An Eyewitness Account.” Journal of Visual Culture 4(2):179–90.

Lacan, Jacques. 1998. “Of the Gaze as Objet Petit a.” Pp. 67–122 in The Seminar of Jacques Lacan: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, edited by Jacques-Alain Miller. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Lacan, Jacques. 2007. “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I.” Pp. 75–81 in Ecrits. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Lamarche, Pierre. 2001. “Tradition, Crisis, and the Work of Art in Benjamin and Heidegger:” Philosophy Today 45(9999):37–45.

Larson, Stephanie Greco. 2005. Media & Minorities: The Politics of Race in News and Entertainment. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Latour, Bruno. 1990. “Visualization and Cognition: Drawing Things Together.” Pp. 19–68 in Representation in Scientific Activity, edited by Michael Lynch and Steve Woolgar. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Lavin, Maud. 2002. Clean New World: Culture, Politics, and Graphic Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Lemish, Dafna. 2006. Children and Television: A Global Perspective. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Levin, Thomas Y., Ursula Frohne, and Peter Weibel, eds. 2002. CTRL [SPACE]: Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Lewis, Lisa. 1991. Gender Politics And MTV: Voicing the Difference. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Manghani, Sunil. 2008. Image Critique and the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Manovich, Lev. 2002. The Language of New Media. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Masheck, Joseph. 1993. Building-Art: Modern Architecture under Cultural Construction. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Massood, Paula, ed. 2008. The Spike Lee Reader. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Mayer, Vicki. 2003. Producing Dreams, Consuming Youth: Mexican Americans and Mass Media. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

McCarthy, Anna. 2010. The Citizen Machine: Governing by Television in 1950s America. New York: The New Press.

McLuhan, Marshall. 2008. The Mechanical Bride. Reprint edition. Corte Madera, CA: Gingko Press.

McLuhan, Marshall and Quentin Fiore. 2001. The Medium Is the Massage. Corte Madera, CA: Gingko Press.

McNair, Brian. 2002. Striptease Culture: Sex, Media and the Democratisation of Desire. London and New York: Routledge.

Miller, Mark Crispin. 1990. Seeing Through Movies. New York: Pantheon.

Mirzoeff, Nicholas. 1999. Diaspora and Visual Culture: Representing Africans and Jews. London and New York: Routledge.

Mirzoeff, Nicholas. 2004. Watching Babylon: The War in Iraq and Global Visual Culture. London: Routledge.

Mirzoeff, Nicholas. 2011. The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books.

Mirzoeff, Nicholas, ed. 2012. The Visual Culture Reader. London and New York: Routledge.

Mitchell, W. J. T. 1987. Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Mitchell, W. J. T. 1995. Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Mitchell, W. J. T. 2002. “Showing Seeing: A Critique of Visual Culture.” Journal of Visual Culture 1(2):165–81.

Mitchell, W. J. T. 2006. What Do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Mosco, Vincent. 2009. The Political Economy of Communication. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.

Murray, Susan and Laurie Ouellette, eds. 2008. Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture. 2nd ed. New York: New York University Press.

Najmabadi, Afsaneh. 2004. “Gender and the Sexual Politics of Public Visibility in Iranian Modernity.” In Going Public: Feminism and the Shifting Boundaries of the Private Sphere, edited by Joan W. Scott and Debra Keates. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Nakamura, Lisa. 2007. Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Ouellette, Laurie. 1995. “Will the Revolution Be Televised? Camcorders, Activism, and Alternative Television in the 1990s.” Pp. 165–89 in Transmission: Toward a Post-Television Culture, edited by Peter d’ Agostino and David Tafler. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Rajagopal, Arvind. 2001. Politics after Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of the Public in India. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Rajchman, John. 1988. “Foucault’s Art of Seeing.” October (44):88–117.

Rancière, Jacques. 2009. The Future of the Image. London and New York: Verso.

Rancière, Jacques. 2011. The Emancipated Spectator. London: Verso.

Rancière, Jacques. 2013. The Politics of Aesthetics. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Richardson, John, Claudia Gorbman, and Carol Vernallis, eds. 2013. The Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics. New York: Oxford University Press.

Said, Edward W. 1979. Orientalism. New York: Vintage.

Saint-Amour, Paul K. 2003. “Modernist Reconnaissance.” Modernism/modernity 10(2):349–80.

Schiller, Daniel. 2000. Digital Capitalism: Networking the Global Market System. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Schneider, Alexandra and Birgit Mersmann. 2008. Transmission Image: Visual Translation and Cultural Agency. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Simon, Richard Keller. 1999. Trash Culture: Popular Culture and the Great Tradition. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Smith, Marquard. 2005. “Visual Studies, or the Ossification of Thought.” Journal of Visual Culture 4(2):237–56.

Smith, Terry. 2006. The Architecture of Aftermath. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Sontag, Susan. 2001. On Photography. New York: Picador.

Spigel, Lynn. 1992. Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America.  Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Straayer, Chris. 1996. Deviant Eyes, Deviant Bodies: Sexual Re-Orientation in Film and Video. New York: Columbia University Press.

Sturken, Marita and Lisa Cartwright. 2009. Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Tagg, John. 1993. Burden of Representation: Essays on Photographies and Histories. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Taylor, Diana. 2012. Disappearing Acts: Spectacles of Gender and Nationalism in Argentina’s “Dirty War.” Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Treib, Marc, ed. 2009. Spatial Recall: Memory in Architecture and Landscape. New York: Routledge.

Treichler, Paula, Lisa Cartwright, and Constance Penley, eds. 1998. The Visible Woman: Imaging Technologies, Gender, and Science. New York: New York University Press.

Tryon, Chuck. 2009. Reinventing Cinema: Movies in the Age of Media Convergence. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Turner, Fred. 2008. “Romantic Automatism: Art, Technology, and Collaborative Labor in Cold War America.” Journal of Visual Culture 7(1):5–26.

Turner, Graeme. 2013. Understanding Celebrity. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

West, Shearer. 2004. Portraiture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wolff, Janet. 2000. “The Feminine in Modern Art: Benjamin, Simmel and the Gender of Modernity.” Theory, Culture & Society17(6):33–53.

Zimmermann, Michael F. 2003. The Art Historian: National Traditions and Institutional Practices. Williamstown, MA: Clark Art Institute.

Zimmermann, Patricia R. 2000. States of Emergency: Documentaries, Wars, Democracy. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Zizek, Slavoj. 1991. “The Truth Arises from Misrecognition.” Pp. 188–211 in Lacan and the Subject of Language, edited by Ellie Ragland-Sullivan and Mark Bracher. New York: Routledge.

Campus Resources