Honors | Visualizing War
H204 | 0016 | J. Lucaites

11:15-12:30P  MW  TE F256

Visualizing War

	"War" magnifies the fundamental problem of representation:  It
is a phenomena that can only truly be understood by those who have
experienced it, but that experience can never be communicated in any
exacting way.  The implications of this dilemma lash back and forth
throughout the history of the rhetoric of war (and peace), leading in
the later part of the 19th-century to the conclusion that photography
provides a clear record of the nature of war.  From the middle of the
19th century forward, photography has been one of the primary media of
communication employed to report and remember events designated as "
wars."  Indeed, from the Civil War forward, each subsequent war has
been dubbed by someone as "the" visual war, as advancing technologies
have increased the ease with which the "reality" of war can be
visually recorded and "experienced."  One might even argue that with
the events of 9/11 we have come full circle as war is literally
experienced visually in the here-and-now by an entire nation.
The goal of this course is to explore the dilemmas and paradoxes of
war rhetoric, especially for liberal-democratic polity, as they are
engaged and negotiated in and through the visualization of war.  We
will begin with consideration of the photographic representations of
the Civil War and work our way forward to considerations of the ways
in which wars are visually constituted in a variety of visual media,
including photojournalism, film (both documentary and fiction),
television, poster art, various forms of animation, sculpture and
statuary (including memorials), and the "new technologies" made
available through web-casting and the like.

	Course "readings" will draw from a wide variety of sources
including journal articles and book chapters by historians,
rhetoricians, and art/photography/film critics, as well as a wide
range of visual texts, including paintings, cartoons, photographs,
video/film, and computer
graphics. Indeed, one of the primary goals of the course is to help
evaluate the semiotic and rhetorical complexities and complicities of
visual texts with the same kind of intensity that is typically
reserved for written or oral texts.

	Course assignments will include : (1) journal entries on class
readings, writings, and discussions; (2) three or four short essays
(3-5 pp.) analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating specific visual
representations or war; and (3) a group project addressed to an
audience outside of the class and designed to communicate the problems
and paradoxes posed by the visual representation of war in a liberal-
democratic polity.