Visual Culture: The Study of the Visual after the Cultural Turn

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Dikovitskaya gives us an archaeology of visual culture, examining the cultural turn away from art history and the emergence of visual studies. Drawing on responses to questionnaires, oral histories, and interviews with the field's leading scholars, she discusses first the field's history, theoretical frameworks, and methods, and then examines four programs and courses in visual culture - those at the University of Rochester, the University of Chicago, the University of California at Irvine, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Bringing together considerations of theory and practice, Dikovitskaya charts the future of visual culture programs in the twenty-first century.
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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"Dikovitskaya's analyses of the institutions, pedagogical practices, and personalities of the new field of visual culture in the U.S. underline how specific a rigorous historiography of this emerging discipline must be. Her study is an invaluable resource for those who seek to understand the visual in today's culture."—Mark A. Cheetham, Graduate Department of History of Art, University of Toronto

"*Visual Culture* offers a rich archaeology of the histories,disciplines, texts, people, and university programs that have shaped the emergence of visual culture in the US academy. With this ambitious and engaging work, produced amidst the continuing development of visual studies and aided by insightful interviews from scholars across disciplines, Margaret Dikovitskaya supplies readers with an intelligent account of the diverse theoretical positions and research and teaching methods that affect contemporary engagements with the object of visual culture. This is an essential guide for students in the young field of visual studies as well as scholars wrestling with the persistent question: 'What is visual culture?'"—Raiford Guins, Founder and Principal Editor, *Journal of Visual Culture*, and Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Screen Media, University of the West of England

"Dikovitskaya's micro-history of the emergence of the new interdiscipline of visual studies is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand a key development of Western intellectual life during the late twentieth century. Grounded in lively interviews with the field's major proponents, this book illuminates the relationship in which art, history, culture, and visuality are increasingly understood to stand to each other."—Ruth B. Phillips, Canada Research Chair in Modern Culture and Professor of Art History, Carleton University, Ottawa

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262042246
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2005
  • Pages: 326
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Dikovitskaya is Landsdowne Professor of Art History at the University of Victoria, British Columbia.

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Table of Contents

The study of visual culture : a bibliographic essay 6
Ch. 1 Theoretical frameworks 47
Genealogy and the object(s) of visual studies 47
Between art history and cultural studies : methodology of visual studies 64
Ch. 2 Institutions and pedagogy 85
Teaching undergraduates 86
Graduate programs 91
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  • Posted January 22, 2009

    defining visual culture to teach it in colleges

    Everyone recognizes that this is a time of visual culture, extraordinarily and in many ways excessively so. The phrase is routinely, and casually, used by many in the media, arts, and even academia. However, there is little comprehension, understanding, or agreement on what this visual culture really is either in terms of a concept or an experience. Dikovitsky steps back from this common use of the term visual culture to try to define and comprehend it by exploring 'the history, theoretical frameworks, methodology, and pedagogy of visual culture in the United States.' She does this mostly by interviews with college professors in fields ranging from art, film studies, and cultural studies to literature which in one way or another take into account the pronounced and often dominating or suppressive nature of the visual in modern culture. The word 'study' in the subtitle connotes not so much Dikovitskaya's study of visual culture--although this is inevitably inherent--as it does the author's chosen task to report how visual culture is being studied mostly in the universities and along with this answer the question of how it is to be studied so it is understood properly. Without a proper understanding of visual culture, contemporary society cannot be understood properly contemporary society is a mystery. While not defining visual culture definitively, if this can ever be done, Dikovitskaya's exploration, framing of issues, and probing interviews bring the sprawling, elusive, omnipresent presence and idea of visual culture into clearer focus. Dikovitskaya is a research fellow at the Library of Congress.

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