College Of Arts And Sciences | Art and Power
E103 | 0114 | Facos


The control and exercise of power is a constant in human society.
Those either possessing, criticizing, or seeking to displace power
have always relied heavily on visual culture’s ability to persuade
audiences. In this course we will examine various kinds of power and
the ways in which power has harnessed visual culture, an inherently
powerful mode of communication, to achieve its goals. Our discussion
stretches from ancient times to the present, but concentrates on the
modern era. Emphasis is placed on learning to “read” and “decode”
visual imagery in order to discover and then interpret its various
meanings, and also on expressing, orally and in writing, the ways in
which these images of power can be understood. Mostly, this course is
about looking critically at visual culture and learning to ask
questions that enable us to “see” beneath the surface and to
understand images in their cultural and historical contexts. Finally,
we ask: what are the devices which artists use in order to exercise
power over viewers?