Fall 2010 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Waligore, Marilyn
Discipline and Number
AHST 3324 Section 001
T Time 1:00 PM - 3:45 PM
Course Title
History of Photography

Description of Course:

History of Photography: Photography After 1945

This survey will present an overview of photographic history from post-World War II to the present. We will study the medium's impact upon our culture in the context of the technical evolution of photography, with reflection on the expanding range of venues for distribution of images during this sixty-year period, from the picture press to galleries and museums to the internet. We will consider photographic "categories" and "canons" as we examine a medium in flux, an art form whose history is being written and rewritten. By gaining an understanding of this complex visual medium which consistently crosses the boundary separating high art and popular culture, one can develop a critical framework for discussing and writing about photographs.

We will examine photography's role as witness, an approach prominent in the work of U.S. photographers from the 20s through the 60s, coinciding with a period of high modernism. A transformation in the 60s and 70s occurred as artists engaged in Conceptual, Process, and Performance Art began to experiment with the medium. New approaches involved the record of the self, documentation of architecture, appropriation of mediated imagery, and exploration of staged photography, guiding the formation of a postmodern photographic practice.

The class will participate in discussion, relating study of the history of photography--through the review of images, catalogs, films, and exhibitions--to personal experience with this ubiquitous form of visual information.

Required Texts:

Garner, Gretchen. Disappearing Witness: Change in Twentieth-Century American Photography
Sturken, Marita and Cartwright, Lisa. Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture

Creative projects can be generated using basic consumer-level photographic processes, including digital inkjet prints, color prints from film produced by a minilab, or polaroids.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Grading will be determined by attendance and participation (20%), two visual projects (20%), a research project (20%), a take-home midterm exam (20%), and a take-home final exam (20%).

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