Center for the Arts and Humanities

Visual Studies across the Curriculum: A Roundtable & Workshop

April 10—11, 2014, Haverford College

In this workshop and roundtable, we will explore the shape and scope of visual studies programming in a liberal arts environment. Working with four scholars from a range of theoretical backgrounds, we will consider how our scholarship and curricular practices engage the evolving frameworks of visual studies across centuries, media forms, disciplines, and technologies:

  1. What are the particular challenges posed by visual studies as a field (or fields) today?
  2. What role can visual studies programming play within the context of an undergraduate liberal arts education?
  3. What curricular considerations should be part of creating a visual studies program across the three divisions?
  4. What kinds of spaces and technologies will best facilitate this work?

These discussions will build on the experiences of our visitors (from MIT, UC Berkeley, U Toronto, and Duke), while remaining cognizant of Haverford's diverse visual studies ecology.

Thursday's roundtable is open to the public. If you would like to attend any of the rest of the workshop, including the Thursday dinner and/or the daylong Friday workshop, please RSVP to with the sessions you plan to attend.


Thursday, April 10th

4:15—6:00 p.m.

A Roundtable: Why Visual Studies? Theory and Practice

  • D. Fox Harrell, Associate Professor of Digital Media, Comparative Media Studies Program & Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT)
  • Louis Kaplan, Chair & Professor, Department of Visual Studies (Toronto)
  • Kristine Stiles, France Family Professor of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies (Duke)
  • Jeffrey Skoller, Associate Professor of Film and Media (UC Berkeley)
Chase Auditorium

6:30—8:00 p.m.

Dinner Small Groups, Why Visual Studies? Discussions
Faculty Dining Room, Haverford Dining Center

Friday, April 11th

Daylong Workshop (Stokes 102 & 106)

8:45–9:30 a.m.


9:15–10:15 a.m.

Large Group: Visual Studies & the Liberal Arts Education


Small Groups, Institutional Infrastructures: Disciplines, Departments, Concentrations

12:00–1:15 p.m.

Lunch & Conversation with Roundtable Scholars

1:30–2:45 p.m.

Small Groups, Building Programs at HC—Models, Curriculum & Space

3:00–4:00 p.m.

Moving Forward: Next Steps


D. Fox Harrell
D. Fox Harrell

D. Fox Harrell, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Digital Media, Comparative Media Studies Program & Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT. His research explores the relationship between imaginative cognition and computation. His research involves developing new forms of computational narrative, gaming, social media, and related digital media based in computer science, cognitive science, and digital media arts. The National Science Foundation has recognized Harrell with an NSF CAREER Award for his project “Computing for Advanced Identity Representation.” Harrell holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego. His other degrees include a Master's degree in Interactive Telecommunication from New York University, and a B.F.A. in Art, B.S. in Logic and Computation (each with highest honors), and minor in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. He has worked as an interactive television producer and as a game designer. His book Phantasmal Media: An Approach to Imagination, Computation, and Expression was published by the MIT Press (2013).

Louis Kaplan
Louis Kaplan

Professor Louis Kaplan was appointed the inaugural Chair of the Department of Visual Studies at the Mississauga campus of the University of Toronto in July 2010. He served previously as the Director of the Institute of Communication and Culture (2006-2010) and as the founding coordinator of Visual Culture and Communications specialist program (2003-2006) after joining the faculty in 2002. He has also taught at Tufts University and Southern Illinois University.

Professor Kaplan is recognized internationally for his innovative historical and theoretical contributions to the field of photography studies in such areas as spirit photography, photography and community, photographic humour, the New Vision, and photography theory. His wide-ranging research interests include 20th and 21st century European and North American art and visual culture; film and media culture; deconstruction; contemporary Jewish art and visual culture; and new media art practices (especially augmented reality), among others. Kaplan has published eight books, three exhibition catalogues, and approximately fifty scholarly essays and articles. His work has been translated into over a dozen languages and he has delivered keynote lectures in Canada, the United States, Belgium, Great Britain, South Korea, and Israel. Recent essays and articles have appeared in Journal of Visual Culture, Cabinet, History of Photography, PMC: Postmodern Culture, and Prefix Photo. He also has collaborated with Melissa Shiff on a number of artistic projects. Professor Kaplan has been awarded a SSHRC Standard Research Grant as well as a SSHRC Insight Development Grant.

Jeffrey Skoller
Jeffrey Skoller

Jeffrey Skoller is a filmmaker and writer. He teaches film/video production and courses on the histories and theories of experimental/avant-garde film and video art, documentary/non-fiction film, Third Cinema, tactical, activist and other counter-media practices. In research and image-making, I explore relationships between film and contemporary art, the radical aesthetics and praxis of the political avant-garde; representations of history and time in experimental film and video, and contemporary cinematic hybrids such as the essay film, experimental documentary, animated documentary and video installation and expanded cinema.

Courses taught include: Documentary film, Avant-garde film, The Image of Time: Cinematic Temporalities, From History To Entropy: Making History In Cinema, Political Modernism and Beyond: Radical Formalism in Film and New Media, The Religious Imagination in Cinema, Graduate Production Seminar in Video and Moving Image Media Production.

Skoller’s films have been exhibited in museums, universities and festivals internationally. Screenings and exhibitions include: The Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley; Portland Art Museum, OR; The Gene Siskel Film Center, Art Institute of Chicago, The SF Cinematheque; Museum of the Moving Image, NY; JP Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, Whitney Museum, NY; P.S. 1, NY; Anthology Film Archives, NY; Flaherty Film Seminar, NY; Arsenal Kino, Berlin; Mannheim Film Festival, Germany; The Latin American Film Festival, Havana; National Film Theatre, London. His essays and articles on experimental film and video have appeared in Film Quarterly; Discourse; Afterimage; Cinematograph; New Art Examiner among others. Skoller was part of the founding faculty of the Dept. of Film/Video/New Media at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was Director of the Cinema and Media Studies Program at Wellesley College.

Kristine Stiles
Kristine Stiles

Kristine Stiles is France Family Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University. She received her B.A. in art history from San Jose State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a specialist in global contemporary art and theory with a focus on artists writings and experimental art, from conceptual and performance art to installation and art and technology. Stiles pioneered work on destruction in art, and works as well in trauma studies and visual and cultural studies. A growing area of her research is animal studies with a concentration on horses. Among her publications are Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings (University of California Press 1996, with Peter Selz). Stiles revised the expanded 2nd edition of Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art, which came out in 2012. Other books include Correspondence Course: An Epistolary History of Carolee Schneemann and her Circle (Duke University Press 2010); Marina Abramovic (Phaidon Press, 2008); and States of Mind: Dan & Lia Perjovschi (Duke University Press 2007). Her forthcoming book from the University of Chicago Press is Concerning Consequences: Studies in Art and Trauma, 1978-2013. Stiles is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including an Honorary Doctorate from Dartington College of Arts & University of Plymouth, England; The J. William Fulbright to Romania; and the John Simon Guggenheim for her work on documentary photography of the nuclear age. Stiles has received awards for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring at Duke University and for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Stiles is also an artist and equestrian.