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Visual Culture
The Reader

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August 1999 | 512 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

"This collection of classic essays in the study of visual culture fills a major gap in this new and expanding intellectual field. Its major strength is its insistence on the importance of three central aspects of the study of visual culture: the sign, the institution and the viewing subject. It will provide readers, teachers and students with an essential text in visual and cultural studies." - Janet Wolff, University of Rochester

Visual Culture: The Reader provides an invaluable resource of over 30 key statements from a wide range of disciplines. Although underpinned by a focus on contemporary cultural theory, this reader puts issues of visual culture and the rhetoric of the image at centre stage.

Divided into three parts, The Culture of the Visual, Regulating Photographic Meaning, Looking and Subjectivity, this reader enables students to make hitherto unmade connections across art, film and photography history and theory, semiotics, history, semiotics and communications, media studies, and cultural theory. The key statements are from the work of:

Visual Culture: The Reader sets the agenda for the study of Visual Culture and will be an essential sourcebook for researchers and students alike.

sets the agenda for the study of Visual Culture and will be an essential sourcebook for researchers and students alike.

This is the reader for the module The Image and Visual Culture (D850) - part of The Open University Masters in Social Sciences Programme. 


Jessica Evans and Stuart Hall
What is Visual Culture?
 
PART ONE: CULTURES OF THE VISUAL
Jessica Evans
Introduction
 
A: Rhetorics of the Image
Norman Bryson
The Natural Attitude
Roland Barthes
Rhetoric of the Image
Victor Burgin
Art, Common Sense and Photography
Roland Barthes
Myth Today
 
B: Techniques of the Visible
Michel Foucault
Panopticism
Walter Benjamin
The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Susan Sontag
The Image-World
Guy Debord
Separation Perfected
Dick Hebdige
The Bottom Line on Planet One
Squaring up to The Face

 

 
PART TWO: REGULATING PHOTOGRAPHIC MEANINGS
Jessica Evans
Introduction
 
C: Theorizing Photography
Simon Watney
On the Institutions of Photography
Pierre Bourdieu
The Social Definition of Photography
Allan Sekula
Reading an Archive
Photography between Labour and Capital

 
Rosalind Krauss
Photography's Discursive Spaces
 
D: Institutions and Practices in Photography
Douglas Crimp
The Museum's Old, the Library's New Subject
Abigail Solomon-Godeau
Living with Contradictions
Critical Practices in the Age of Supply-Side Aesthetics

 
John Tagg
Evidence, Truth and Order and A Means of Surveillance
Jessica Evans
Feeble Monsters
Making Up Disabled People

 
Don Slater
Marketing Mass Photography
 
PART THREE: LOOKING AND SUBJECTIVITY
Stuart Hall
Introduction
 
E: Theoretical Perspectives
Louis Althusser
Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses
Sigmund Freud
Fetishism
Otto Fenichel
The Scoptophilic Instinct and Identification
Kaja Silverman
The Subject
Elizabeth Cowie
Fantasia
Homi K Bhabha
The Other Question
The Stereotype and Colonial Discourse

 
 
F: Gendering the Gaze
Laura Mulvey
Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema
Jackie Stacey
Desperately Seeking Difference
Jane Gaines
White Privilege and Looking Relations
Race and Gender in Feminist Film Theory

 
Jacqueline Rose
Sexuality in the Field of Vision
 
G: `Seeing' Racial Difference
Frantz Fanon
The Fact of Blackness
Mary Louise Pratt
Alexander von Humboldt and the Reinvention of America
Kobena Mercer
Reading Racial Fetishism
The Photographs of Robbert Mapplethorpe

 
Mary Ann Doane
Dark Continents
Epistemologies of Racial and Sexual Difference in Psycholanalysis and the Cinema

 
Richard Dyer
White

`Visual Culture offers readers incredible riches. It contains a number of important articles on theoretical matters involving the analysis and interpretation of images and their culture, social and political dimensions. As such, it is a major contribution to our understanding of visual culture' - Journal of Communication


"This collection of classic essays in the study of visual culture fills a major gap in this new and expanding intellectual field. Its major strength is its insistence on the importance of three central aspects of the study of visual culture: the sign, the institution and the viewing subject. It will provide readers, teachers and students with essential text in visual and cultural studies." 

Janet Wolff
University of Rochester

This is a key text in cultural studies. It is an essential text for many of the modules I teach but, due to some changes in the teaching programme, this will not be an essential reading. Yet, I will be using this resource in future modules in global media, Theory and Analysis and Key Concepts in Media Cultures.

Dr Chiara Minestrelli
my department is not listed, University of the Arts London
September 3, 2019

Good examples and easy writing of conceptual explanation

Dr Eerang Park
Lincoln Business School, Lincoln University
February 13, 2016

A must read for anyone who is considering doing research in the area of cultural studies and social science. The book includes all the major authors that deal with visual culture and its implications for the subject

Mr Fergus Hogan
Department of Applied Arts, Waterford Institute of Technology
November 18, 2015

This volume contains a great selection of key essays in visual culture. We have only used one or two selected essays in supplemental context. Specifically the essay by Walter Benjamin and the essay on Photography by S. Sontag

Dr William Ellis
Dept Of Anthropology & Sociology, University of Western Cape
September 1, 2015

This is a splendid collection of classic essays in the study of visual culture. It is a must for students (particularly postgraduate) and researchers in the fields of art history, cultural studies, film studies, visual semiotics, media studies, and visual culture, and to an extent, for anybody with an intellectual interest in the visual. Not only the selection of the material is excellent; its organisation is also remarkable, and allows for critical connections and discussions regarding the wide range of approaches and theories included in this book.

Dr Ignacio Aguiló
Spanish, Portugese & Latin Amer Studs, Manchester University
March 23, 2015

The book covers diverse writings from leading scholars. Will be recommended reading for Cinema and TV students.

Dr Sermin Tag Kalafatoglu
Department of Cinema and Television, Ordu University
December 28, 2014

A multiperspective book on photography, film and visual culture which surrounds us in our everyday life. Well selected key texts which may serve as a classical guideline of how to research in depth the field of visual studies.

Dr Eckehard Pistrick
Ethnomusicology, M. Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg
November 11, 2014

Excellent range of topics covered.
Will be useful to students taking certain electives.

Mr David Pope
Centre for Cultural Policy and Management, City University
August 15, 2014

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