VTP COURSE LIST
A/ Core Courses (students have to take 4 credits in total)
Core courses taken beyond the 4 credit requirement will be counted as Electives.
(Didem Pekun, 2 credits, Cultural Heritage Studies, open cross-university)
The course acquaints students with the principles of visual language from a combined theory and practice perspective. It provides an understanding of visual perception, the basic elements and structure of visual language and grammar, and the relationship between the two. The course enables participants to apply principles of visual grammar in their own scholarship and creative work, and empowers participants to develop their own unique visual voice.
DEBATES IN VISUAL STUDIES: MEDIALITY OF CULTURE, CULTURAL ICONOLOGY AND VISUAL STUDIES
(Endre Gyorgy Szonyi, 2 credits, Dept. of History, open cross-university)
The course examines the role of images in defining culture and constituting its mediality and concentrates on the changing role and channels of visual communication. It surveys a long-lasting scholarly attempt to define the relationship and the interactions between images and texts, artist and audience, message and reception/perception, and introduces the most thought-provoking and cutting edge propositions dealing with visual culture.
ICONO/GRAPH: INTERACTIONS OF IMAGE AND TEXT
(Ulrich Meurer, 2 credits, Dept. of History, open cross-university)
Captioned press photos, illegible handwriting, typographic poetry, cinema trailers, digital hypertext … the intersections of image and writing are numberless. The course focuses on selected instances of ‘icono/graphy’ from the 19th century to contemporary software and links them to basic theoretical concepts of semiotics, post/structuralism, media archeology, and the history of science. It not only gives insight into central issues of intermediality but also into the historical shifts and collisions between image and letter – until they merge into the ‘meta-medium’ of the computer. Beyond that, the course aims at deepening the participants’ critical awareness of their media reception/production – not least through the possibility of creating their own image-text-complexes.
HISTORICAL NARRATIVES AND THE MOVING IMAGE: THEORY AND PRACTICE
(Oksana Sarkisova and Jeremy Braverman, 4 credits, Dept. of History)
A filmmaking course for historians and those in related fields. The course also surveys classical and experimental documentary films and discusses major issues in filmmaking relevant (primarily) for history students (and other humanities and social sciences students) interested in the mechanisms of constructing and challenging established visual historical narratives. The course meets 2 times a week, one of the sessions is a seminar which discusses theoretical aspects of filmmaking and film interpretation, the other meeting is a practical session in the media lab. The outcome of the course will be 3-5 minute short films on historical themes created by groups of students, accompanied by short research papers reflecting on the subject and the interpretative position of the filmmaker/researcher.
B / Elective Courses in theory and practice tracks
DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING FOR THE SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES
(Jeremy Braverman, 2 credits, Nationalism Studies, open cross-university)
The course provides students a grounding in the craft of video production, and the creation of moving images, instructing them in basic skills that they can apply to projects and research in their respective disciplines, and beyond. These skills cover all phases of the documentary production process, from idea development, through pre-production and preparation, cinematography, sound and editing. Through learning to create moving images, in concert with formal analysis of documentary examples, students gain valuable, versatile skills, and gain literacy in this increasingly important mode of communication.
VISUAL PRACTICE TRACK
SOUND STUDIES: LISTENING & CREATING BETWEEN THE MATERIAL, MEDIUM AND METAPHOR
(Ian M. Cook and guest lecturers/instructors, 2 credits, School of Public Policy, open cross-university)
The aim of this course is two-fold: firstly to interrogate some of the key debates in sound studies, secondly to acquaint students with some of the different skills needed to undertake research through a sonic lens. Touching on some of the most important moments in the development of the field, as well as contemporary debates, 9 of the 12 sessions will be used to help students situate their thinking within a body of scholarship that is seemingly in a constant state of emergence. The remaining 3 sessions (taking place once every 4 weeks) will involve practical learning and hands on engagement within and outside the university. It will push students to experiment with different ways of listening and researching – from soundwalks to podcasting to transduction. Students will develop public facing materials in these sessions, which may be published if of sufficient quality. VISUAL PRACTICE TRACK
GEOSPATIAL HUMANITIES AND MAPPING TECHNOLOGIES
(Viktor Lagutov, 2 credits, Dept. of History and Cultural Heritage Studies)
Growing recognition of cross-disciplinary applicability and importance made Geographic Information Systems (GIS) a popular approach in historical studies. Until lately maps development and spatial analysis had been a prerogative of cartographers and, later, experts in specialized computer software (early GIS packages). However, latest advances in computer hardware and software have opened this area to other disciplines and allowed historians to enhance their own studies. The course reviews potential areas of GIS application to Historical Studies. The primary focus is at geospatial data visualization including internet data mining, datasets processing and maps development using different software packages.
VISUAL PRACTICE TRACK
MEDIA, COMMUNICATION AND COMMUNISM IN INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT
(Marsha Siefert, Fall, 4 credits, Dept. of History)
This course is a history of media in communist societies with particular attention to the modes and institutions of production, dissemination, and reception in an international context. The course begins with the premise that the mass media were central to the communist goals of political socialization and cultural enlightenment. A second premise is that understanding “everyday socialism” requires understanding how the media “works,” so special attention will be paid to concepts like propaganda, censorship and public opinion that figure prominently in interpreting the way in which communication takes place in communist societies. A third premise is that the media environment during this period was never isolated, but exported to, exchanged with and penetrated by “western” media; thus the international context of media reception and interpretation is part of the history.
VISUAL THEORY TRACK
DOCUMENTARY FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
(Kate Coyer and Jeremy Braverman, 4 credits, School of Public Policy)
A documentary filmmaking course with an emphasis on creating advocacy documentaries, intended to influence societal opinion on a given issue. Many new forms of advocacy are incorporating video, mobile communications and social media. These enable enhanced engagement, mobilization and participation by concerned citizens -- both acting with formal NGOs and within formal structures, and increasingly in decentralized and ad-hoc networks. Aided by the spread in low-cost, high-quality technologies, video and moving image media are becoming increasingly ubiquitous and multi-form, and are playing an ever-increasing role in advocacy strategies.
VISUAL THEORY AND VISUAL PRACTICE TRACK
MINING HISTORY: DIGITAL PRACTICES IN HUMANITIES RESEARCH
(Marcell Sebők with Jessie Labov and Tamás Kiss, 2 credits, Medieval Studies Department)
The course aims at introducing students to the basic debates and methodologies of the digital humanities (DH), and to think through how these approaches and methods might best be applied in their respective (historical or other humanities) projects and disciplines. After tracing how this interdisciplinary field has developed and some of its challenges and limitations, four of the main methodologies featured in DH will be discussed: text analysis, network analysis, mapping, and topic modeling. During these weeks of exploring the various approaches, students will also be working in groups, experimenting with their own datasets and areas of research. By the end of the course, each group will present and submit a DH research or project proposal, incorporating at least one methodology with a selected discipline and area of research.
VISUAL PRACTICE TRACK
ART IN THE SERVICE OF THE NATION: 1750-2000
(Robyn Radway, 2 credits, Dept. of History)
This course offers a problem-oriented approach to the arts in a national context. Alternating between deep analysis of selected representative examples and a critical approach to national self-representation in comparative perspective, it aims to introduce students to the creation and display of objects ranging from ancient sculptures to contemporary performance art in the service of the nation-state. Themes will include the fabrication of national traditions in textbooks, academies of art, national patronage, histories of collecting, museum policies and practices, world’s fairs, and cultural heritage preservation in Europe, the United States, and the Middle East.
VISUAL THEORY TRACK
BUILDING NARRATIVES: SELF-EXPRESSION THROUGH LITERATURE, ART AND PERFORMANCE
(Sanjay Kumar and Adam Bethlenfavy, 2 credits, Dept. of History)
Narrative is a basic human strategy for coming to terms with fundamental elements of our experience, such as time, process, and change, and thus this a study of the distinctive nature of narrative and its various structures, elements, uses, and effects would help us in understanding the nature of identities. This course will provide a variety of critical lenses for considering the relationships between culture and narrative, focusing on the themes of nationhood, memory, intangible cultural heritage, gender and self-identity from multiple historical, literary and cultural backgrounds. Drawing on a selection of narratives ranging from literature, theatre, cinema, popular culture and performances from everyday life in the city-as the urban is often the most representative space for constructing and imagining new narratives of selfhood, we will consider the relevance of stories and storytelling to our daily lives, how our narratives shape the roles we play in society, and the various conventions of identity and otherness that they reinforce or undermine.
VISUAL THEORY TRACK
HUMAN RIGHTS AND DOCUMENTARY CINEMA
(Oksana Sarkisova and Renata Uitz, 2 credits, Dept. of Legal Studies)
What role can documentary film play in promoting human rights? The course introduces ten recent thought-provoking, educational, professionally crafted, and visually engaging documentary films from different parts of the world addressing a variety of human rights issues. Thematic ranges of the documentary films include economic, social, and cultural rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, refugee rights, and international humanitarian law. The course explores the variety of means, from storytelling constructions to camera work and editing, with which concrete cases of human rights violation are presented in advocacy films and in the investigations of political and economic contexts which create conditions for human rights abuses. The students will discuss the elements of compelling visual storytelling, including character and storyline development, variety of styles of documentary filmmaking, distribution channels in relation to social change and impact enhancement, as well as the role of the new media in creating human rights documentaries.
VISUAL THEORY TRACK
Environmental Arts and Humanities
(Dr. Maja Fowkes and Dr. Reuben Fowkes, Alan Watt and Guntra Aistara, 2 credits, Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy)
This course explores key issues in contemporary environmental arts and humanities, drawing on literature from philosophy, anthropology, feminist science studies and new materialisms, and the visual arts. It highlights novel approaches for representing, analysing, and critiquing human interactions with their environment across cultures. Students will examine a broad range of approaches and consider how this work challenges and reframes environmental understanding. A special focus is on examining the impact and critique of the Anthropocene on how we experience and represent the natural world, in shaping debates around the collective response to ecological crisis, and on the evolving role of the arts and humanities in visualising and reimagining environmental issues. Topics covered include reconfigurations of the animal and vegetal, art activism and post-internet art, queer and feminist ecologies, multi-species ethnography, and indigenous environmental politics. Along with lectures and seminar discussions, this course will involve encounters with multiple art forms and approaches from a range of humanities disciplines, and provide students with opportunities to develop critical skills and broaden their response to ecological issues.
VISUAL THEORY TRACK
feminist biopolitics and cultural practice
(Hyaesin Yoon, 4 credits, Department of Gender Studies)
What do memorial displays for those who died from AIDS tell us about public mourning as a political measure of the (disavowed) sexuality? How might performances of dancers and other artists with disabilities challenge the normative perception of gendered and racialized desire/desirability? How do artistic and scientific rendering of “life” reanimate certain mode of life? How do corporeal enmeshment among human and other bodies (such as fish, hormones, chemicals) refigure our understanding of sexual and reproductive bodies? This course examines how the biopolitical operations im/materialize through various forms of cultural practice – especially at the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, species, and disability. For the purpose, this course enters the conversation between feminist and queer theories and the theories of biopolitics, which traditionally concern the relevance of the biological life/death (and what exceeds such dichotomous conceptualization) to the realms of the political. We will pay particular attention to the entwinement between the biological, technological, and cultural as an important constituent of biopolitics, as most dramatically shown in – but not limited to – the emergence of bioarts and biomedia. From this perspective, the course explores a number of sites of cultural practice including performance, eating (and starving), tattoo, biometrics, prosthetics, reproductive technology, and graphic medicine as sites of feminist criticisms and creative interventions.
VISUAL THEORY TRACK
MEDIA POLICY IN THE MAKING
(Marius Dragomir, Eva Bognar, 2 credits, School of Public Policy)
This course is an introduction to the process of policymaking in the media. It consists of an introductory part: a short overview of the policymaking process in the field of media: it will identify the key actors that shape this process, their competences, power and influence and the impact their decisions have on media systems in general, and media organizations in particular. The course also aims to describe and problematize the tensions and conflicts that shape media policies, such as: public versus private interests, international versus national interests, and commercial versus social interests; and the impact of media-related policies on media organizations, on journalism, and ultimately, on society. In the second part of the course students will be invited to work on concrete problems and solutions related to media policy with input from various members of the CMDS.
VISUAL THEORY TRACK
SKILLS FOR IMPACT: DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING
(Jeremy Braverman, 6-week course, 2 credit hours, School of Public Policy)
An introductory documentary production course designed to fit the interests and needs of SFI students. The successful execution of a documentary film requires intensive planning, organization and collaboration, and the course develops these skills which are essential to the SFI modules, along with providing students with a grounding in the craft of video production, and the creation of moving images, instructing them in basic skills that they can apply to their coursework and research, and beyond, in their careers. These skills cover the primary phases of the video production process, including pre-production, cinematography, sound and editing.
VISUAL PRACTICE TRACK
(Didem Pekun, 2 credits, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology)
The course acquaints students with the principles of artistic research and is designed to expand on participants’ study by way of producing knowledge via visuality. If artistic research is – whether in its silent or verbal, declarative or procedural, implicit or explicit form – is sensual and physical, “embodied knowledge”, then the knowledge that artistic research strives for, is a felt knowledge (Klein, 2011). The course thus aims to expand on this notion and finds modes of expressions that are ‘felt’ knowledge and complementary to the written components of students’ academic research. Students will explore the different concerns of various artists, and consider their particular relationships to performance, sound, surveillance, social practice, and the politics of aesthetics. The practice component of the course is designed to understand, analyze, and confront in practice various aspects of art’s relation to social research. To this end, the course employs various modes encompassing blogs, photography projects, filmmaking as well as visual presentations of the research projects at hand.