The undergraduate Critical Visions Certificate is a joint endeavor between faculty from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) and the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). The cross-college curriculum will teach students how to effectively combine critical theory and social analysis with art, media, and design practice and has two primary goals: (1) Increase students' understanding of what is at stake in how we see, including the social and political ramifications of advertising, art, media, popular culture, and science, among other dominant and subversive visual forms and visualizing practices. (2) Develop new artistic, media, or design forms and practices that will intervene in dominant ways of seeing and explaining the world.
Through core classes and approved electives students will critically examine the relationships among power, image, and imagination; situate and theorize vision alongside other modes of perception; and historically and cross-culturally explore a range of forms of seeing. Through studio and production courses they will learn to reflexively produce and rethink the ontology and epistemology of vision. More than just promoting a sophisticated, academic visual literacy, the certificate will enable students to actively engage, critique, and reinterpret the visual objects and forms they encounter in their everyday lives.
In addition to core courses in anthropology and fine art, students will enroll in at least one studio course at or above the 200/2000-level from DAAP and between nine and 12 units of electives from across the two colleges. After fulfilling these requirements students will enroll in Critical Visions where they will develop and execute independent projects organized around a critique of a dominant way of seeing. The goal of these projects, which will be sponsored by two core faculty members from opposite colleges, is to wed together the three core components of the certificate: critical theory, social analysis, and art, media, or design practice. Ultimately we envision having a student-edited art/media/design and theory journal, annual exhibition, or virtual venue to display and circulate student projects, stimulating discussion and broad university engagement with their work.
Student Learning Objectives
Identify and describe the social and political ramifications of both dominant and subversive visual forms and visualizing practices such as advertising, art, media, popular culture, and science, highlighting the relationship among image, imagination, and power.
Using methods and theories from critical theory and social analysis, situate and theorize vision alongside other modes of perception, recognizing its historical, social, and cultural contingency.
Using art, media, or design practice, gain a deeper understanding of how visual forms are produced while also becoming more reflexive and thoughtful in producing them.
Develop new artistic, media, or design forms that effectively combine critical theory, social analysis, and creative practice to intervene in dominant ways of seeing and explaining the world.
Please see the link for Critical Visions Certificate curriculum information.
Core Faculty, 2011-2012
McMicken College of Arts & Sciences
Stephanie Sadre-Orafai, Assistant Professor of Anthropology (Co-Chair)
Eric Jenkins, Assistant Professor of Communication
Todd Herzog, Associate Professor of German Studies
College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning
Jordan Tate, Assistant Professor of Fine Art (Co-Chair)
Ryan Mulligan, Assistant Professor of Fine Art
Katie Parker, Assistant Professor of Fine Art
Core Course Descriptions
Forms of Seeing — An ethnographic approach to a range of visualizing practices and forms, emphasizing seeing as a socially situated, culturally variable, and historically specific practice. Topics include image, imagination, and power; visual economies; expert visions; moral and social implications of forms of seeing; the intersection of visual, material, discursive and embodied practices.
Visual Culture — This class introduces students to evaluating art in the wider context of visual culture, here understood as the study of the production, use, and consumption of visual objects and media that proliferate in most contemporary societies. Situating the critical analysis of art in the context of images that permeate our daily lives will enable a complex understanding of how art functions in contemporary society. This will be a comparative study where art is considered as embedded within an array of images, visual and textual, issuing from television, cinema, magazines, literature, theory, the internet, music, and other media.
Studio — Students will take at least one studio and/or media production course at or above the 200/2000-level from the approved list below. While enrollment in the certificate program will provide access for A&S students to DAAP studios in Fine Arts, they will still need to seek instructor approval for logistical reasons. Intermediate and advanced courses, however, may still require prerequisites.
Electives — Students will enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours of approved electives, choosing courses from across both colleges. Of these courses, one must fulfill the historical and cultural perspective elective, and only one below the 200/2000-level may be applied toward the general electives requirement.
Critical Visions — This course serves as the culminating experience for Critical Visions Certificate students. Students will identify a dominant way of seeing to critique and design an individual project that combines critical theory, social analysis, and art, media, or design practice. Course activities include research and discussion of project concepts, individual and group critiques of the developing project, and final execution and display of the project.
This is a provisional list of approved studio courses open to A&S certificate students that will fulfill the studio requirement. Students may petition the co-directors of the certificate to substitute alternative studios, pending space and instructor approval. DAAP students may use any studio at or above the 200/2000-level from across the college to fulfill this requirement. As CCM is not a formal partner in this certificate, its studios are subject to space and instructor approval for certificate students.
Historical and Cultural Perspective Electives
This is a provisional list of approved historical and cultural perspective electives. Additional courses will be added as they become available and are approved by the certificate core faculty. Upper-division courses may still require prerequisites. Students may petition the certificate co-directors to substitute other courses.
This is a provisional list of approved general electives for the Critical Visions Certificate. Additional courses will be added as they become available and are approved by the certificate core faculty. Upper-division courses may still require prerequisites. Students may petition the certificate co-directors to substitute other courses.