Communication and Culture | Image Cultures
C208 | 27988 | Simons, J.
TuTh, 11:15 AM-12:30 PM, Location: TBA
Instructor: Jon Simons
Office: Mottier Hall 205
It is often said that we live in an ‘image culture,’ but what
precisely is meant by that? Is it the same as ‘visual culture’? This
course offers an interdisciplinary and historical context for
understanding contemporary Western ‘image culture’ by addressing the
notion of the ‘image’ in a wide range of its theoretical, critical
and practical contexts, uses and history. Images are objects of
study in disciplines from art history to neuroscience, from
political science to cultural studies. The ubiquity of visual
imagery is only half the story of contemporary image culture, given
that there is a whole family of graphic, optical, perceptual and
mental imagery. We thus need an appreciation of dreams, fantasies,
memories, literary images, metaphors, ideas and sense impressions,
as well as corporate, political, personal, bodily and commodity
By figuring out the family resemblances between the uses of the
term ‘images’, the significance of images for contemporary culture
emerges. The course also examines the claim that our culture is more
imagistic than others historically, asking how the roles of images
have changed over time in relation to other modes of signification.
In discussing a selection of key readings across the domains of
philosophy, art, literature, science, critical theory and cultural
studies, the course tells the story of the image from the Bible to
Almost all the reading selections will be drawn from one anthology:
Sunil Manghani, Arthur Piper and Jon Simons (eds) Images: A Reader
1) Mid semester: Critical text review: (Approximately 1,000 words.
2) Class discussion ‘write-ups’. Fourth week and mid-semester.
(Approximately 1,000 words each. 20% - 10% each).
3) End of semester. Image production. Either in teams or
4) End of semester paper. (Approximately 3,500 words. 40%).
5) Attendance (10%).