The Interdisciplinary Visual Studies Minor invites students both to investigate their place in a global system of images and to make media of all kinds, from images and films to objects and performances. Additionally, the program trains students in interdisciplinary rigor and shows them how to examine the relationship between the visual and various structures of power.
Located in the Visual Culture, Arts and Media building (VCAM), Visual Studies links elements of the curriculum, campus, and broader community, highlighting the intersections between courses, faculty, students, departments, and programs engaging the visual.
- To teach students visual literacy
Students of Visual Studies will investigate their place in the global system of images. Through a Visual Studies framework students have the ability to describe, analyze, and negotiate an increasingly complex world of information technologies; the impact of these technologies on art, culture, science, commerce, policy, society, and the environment; and the interrelationship of these technologies with historical and material forms.
- To engage students in critical making
Visual Studies creates curricular opportunities for students to make images, objects, and digital artifacts with critical awareness of their powers and limitations. Critical making, or thinking with process, encourages students to develop production skills which, when coupled with theoretical training and analytical rigor, will broaden their ability to improvise and problem-solve in a variety of disciplinary contexts.
- To train students in interdisciplinary rigor
Visual Studies encourages conversation between scholars working on the relationship between text and the visual, the nature of perception, cognition and attention, and the historical construction of looking. Visual Studies can help students perceive when disciplines are essential to understanding a subject, and when they can be combined for a more expansive or more precise critical engagement.
- To guide students in an ethics of the visual
Visual Studies invites a return to the liberal arts as processes of creativity, critique, and reflection. It links creative expression to cultural analysis and social engagement, training a generation of theoretically informed makers, artists, innovators, teachers, and civic leaders. We invite students to examine the relationship between the visual and structures of power, to analyze the role of images in making and swaying consumers, and to attend to the role that images play in constructing “others” through race, gender, or disability.
Haverford’s Institutional Learning Goals are available on the President’s website, at http://hav.to/learninggoals.
The Visual Studies curriculum is organized to help students develop critical and creative engagement with visual experience across media, time, and cultures
All students are required to take an introductory gateway course and a senior-level capstone course. The introductory course covers a variety of disciplinary approaches to the field of Visual Studies, and will often include guest lectures, field trips, and an introduction to some form of making. The capstone course consolidates the student experience of the interdisciplinary minor that integrates visual scholarship, making, and public engagement. Students will select their four elective courses from three of the Learning Goals: Visual Literacy, Critical Making, and Ethics of the Visual.
Students interested in the Interdisciplinary Visual Studies Minor should plan their course schedule in consultation with the Director of Visual Studies and with their major advisor. Please note: currently no more than one of the six minor credits may count towards the student’s major.
The minor will include six courses:
- The Introduction to Visual Studies (VIST H142), the gateway course offered each fall
- Four elective courses that meet the following three learning goals (please find here a list of current courses approved for the minor):
- Visual Literacy
Courses that teach students how to describe and analyze the visual and the impact of digital and/or analogue technologies on art, culture, science, commerce, policy, society, and the environment.
- Critical Making
Labs/Studio Courses that create curricular opportunities for students to make media of all kinds, from images and films to objects and performances, and to develop a critical awareness of the relationship between process, product, and reception.
- Ethics of the Visual
Courses that invite students to examine the relationship between the visual and structures of power, analyzing the role of images in making and swaying consumers and attending to the role that images play in constructing “others” through such categories as race, gender, or disability.
- Visual Literacy
- A Senior Capstone Seminar (VIST H399) where students will work in small groups to research and propose projects that engage the larger campus community.
Both the Introduction and the Capstone courses must be taken at Haverford College. Additionally, at least two of the four elective courses must be taken at Haverford, Bryn Mawr, or Swarthmore in order to be counted for the Visual Studies Minor.