Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Truth, Text, and the Indexical Photograph
Monday | Wednesday: 5:00 - 6:30pm
What does it mean to say that we can “read” a photograph? Victor Burgin writes that "the intelligibility of the photograph is no simple thing; photographs are texts inscribed in terms of what we may call ‘photographic discourse,’ but this discourse, like any other, engages discourses beyond itself [—] the ‘photographic text’ like any other, is the site of a complex intertextuality.” In this course, we will learn to articulate this "complex intertextuality" through a series of writing assignments. We will examine the many discourses that situate a photograph and influence our readings of it, while also considering the textual qualities of images. We will pay particular attention to how ideas about photography’s indexicality shape both the arguments developed in the course readings and the truth claims we make in our own writing. The course will focus on examples from contemporary photography, while also providing students with a grounding in the medium’s history and semiotics.
As the second half of the Reading and Composition requirement, this course will support students in improving writing, reading, and research skills. Assignments will ask students to successfully integrate readings of images and texts, develop strong arguments, conduct research, and engage in active and repeated revisions. The final for the course will be a 10-12 page research paper.