ARTH/AFRA 2222: Race, Gender, Sexuality, and the Power of Looking

[UConn Storrs]

We are often told that we live in a singularly visual age, where most information is communicated to us via some platform, frame, or program. Yet as we are increasingly dominated by the visual, we seem to be learning less and less about how to read, interpret, engage, or resist the visual culture that swirls around us. This class looks to intervene in that trend and will be a beginning investigation into the issues of what is visual culture and how we might define visual literacy. Thematically then, this class will focus on how we see, or do not see, race, gender, and sexuality.

With those parameters, the major questions the class seeks to engage with are: How do people “know” race visually? Who has been invested in seeing race and racial difference? How have artists and others attempted to intervene or disrupt these sight lines? What does gender look like? Can we remake how we see race and gender? What about how intimacy is viewed and the definitions of sexuality created; how have these categories been visually  constructed and how can they be re-imagined? How do different mediums (sculpture, print, film, or digital) affect how we see bodies?