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ART H 273 A: History and Theory of Photography

Summer Term: 
Full-term
Meeting Time: 
to be arranged
Location: 
* *
SLN: 
10165
Instructor:
Kolya Rice
Kolya Rice

Syllabus Description:

E. Antin, 100 Boots

 

Art History 273—Summer 2019      AH 273 Photo History Theory Syllabus Summer 2019.docx
History and Theory of Photography

Instructor: Kolya Rice
Office: Art 302
E-mail: krice@uw.edu
Office Hours: by appointment

Course Description:
Is it possible today to imagine a world without photography? Photographs inform and impact so many aspects of our lives, we know—but how, specifically? This course is a survey of photography from its beginnings in the early 19th century to the digital imaging of today. Online video lectures, course readings and discussion forums will address photography’s multiple histories and theorizations: as an artistic medium, as a social text, as a technological adventure, and as a cultural practice. Key photographers, cultural movements and recurring themes will be explored with close attention to the social and cultural contexts in which photographs were produced, circulated and consumed. Further, we will explore critical approaches to, and complex theories concerning the operations and impact of photography, emphasizing a consideration of how photographic media impacts each of us, today.

Participants will work through sequences of materials and assignments organized in weekly “modules” on Canvas according to their own individual schedules with a great degree of flexibility. In the few cases where there is a fixed time that students will need to adhere to, multiple time slots will be offered so that everyone will be able to participate as fits their schedule.
Course content will be delivered through a series of Panopto video lectures and coordinated readings. Online discussion forums, reflective papers on readings, online quizzes and assignments have been designed to engage students with course topics, foster creative and critical thinking, allow dialogue concerning the stakes involved in visual representations, and allow instructor assessment and evaluation of participants’ progress.

Required Readings:
1. Robert Hirsch, Seizing the Light: A Social History of Photography, 2nd or 3rd edition 
2. Electronic reserve (ER) readings of special topics articles on Canvas.

Student Responsibilities:
3 quizzes: 15% each (45% of overall grade)
Each quiz will require students to write short answers and longer essays on topics covered in the Panopto lectures and readings. These are open notes quizzes—you may return to the lectures and readings when composing your answers. Each quiz will only cover the topics for that 3 week section of the course. In other words, they are not comprehensive. These quizzes will be graded on a 100 point scale.
Summary/reflective essays on reading assignments (35%)
To ensure that participants have on strong comprehension of key ideas from course readings, and to allow me to offer feedback, each week students will write summary/reflective essays on the readings. I will provide you with two “guides” to help you compose these informal essays. First, you will get a specific, if general prompt for each weekly summary/reflective reading. Second, you can refer to the reading guides, or even answer the questions provided in them for that week as you compose your essays. These essays will be graded on a 10 point scale.
Participation in weekly discussion forums (20%)
The topics of this course lend themselves to rich discussion and manifold perspectives. Candidly, this is often difficult to achieve in an online course. My hope is that you will engage with each other, respectfully and thoughtfully in the weekly online discussion forums. Each week I will provide you with specific topics, ideas and issues raised in the lectures and reading. Each student will be required to make one post in the discussion forum before the end of the day on Wednesdays. Once you have posted, you will be able to see others students’ posts. You are required to respond to at least one of these posts from another student by the end of the day on Fridays. You are welcome and encouraged to post/respond as many times as you desire. Your posts/responses will be graded on a 10 point scale.

VeriCite anti-plagairism software:

NoticeThe University has a license agreement with VeriCite, an educational tool that helps prevent or identify plagiarism from Internet resources and work submitted by previous students of this course. I will use the service in this class; all assignments and quizzes you submit will be checked by VeriCite. The VeriCite Report will indicate the amount of original text in your work and whether all material that you quoted, paraphrased, summarized, or used from another source is appropriately referenced. All instances of intentional plagiarism will result in zero credit on the assignment, and a report of indicating academic dishonesty to the School of Art and the University of Washington. For further information, visit: https://itconnect.uw.edu/learn/tools/canvas/canvas-help-for-instructors/assignments-grading/vericite/plagiarism-faqs/

 

Course Outline and Schedule:

(Specific prompts for the assignments listed below will be found on Canvas.)

 

Week 1:          Introduction: Setting the stage

Module 1:        Introduction to the course: overview

Assignments:

  1. Panopto video lecture
  2. Discussion forum—write a brief personal bio and post a picture that represents you. See prompt on Canvas.

 

Module 2:        Context and Historical Backdrop: The Invention of Photography

Assignments:

  1. Panopto lecture
  2. Summary/Reflective essay

Readings:

Text:    Chapters 1-3

  • Talbot, “A Brief Historical Sketch of the Invention of the Art”
  • Kriebel, “Theories of Photography: A Short History” note: we will read sections of this essay over the course of the quarter (the text is subdivided into 4 sections): focus on section 1, pp. 3-15

Week 2:          Early Photography—Finding a Place

Module 3:        Early Photography: Technological Evolution, Differing Looks and Uses—

                        and Critical Positions

Assignments: 

  1. Panopto video lecture
  2. Discussion forum

Readings:

Text:    Chapter 4

  • Baudelaire, “The Salon of 1859”
  • Holmes, “The Stereoscope and the Stereograph”
  • Emerson, “Hints on Art”

 

Module 4:        Photography and Art: Pictorialism and Traditions of Painting

Assignments:

  1. Panopto video lecture
  2. Summary/Reflective essay

           

Readings:

Text:    Chapters 6, 9

  • Robinson, an excerpt from “Pictorial Effect in Photography”

Optional: Rejlander, an excerpt from “An Apology for Art-Photography”

 

Week 3:          Modernist Art or Social “Document”? Photography in the 19th-early 20th

 Century

Module 5:        Photography and 19th C “Documentation”—From the Civil War to

 Natural Wonders

Assignments: 

  1. Panopto video lecture
  2. Discussion forum
  3. Summary/Reflective essay

 Readings:

 Text:    Chapters 5, 7

  • Swarkowski, “Photography and America”
  • Solomon-Godeau, “Who Is Speaking Thus? Some Questions about Documentary

Photography”

  • Optional: Nesbit, “Photography and History: Eugene Atget”

 

Module 6:        20th C Art photography: from Pictorialism to Modernism

Assignments:

  1. Panopto video lecture
  2. Discussion forum

Readings:

Text: Chapters 9 (review), 11

  • Weston, excerpts from “Daybooks 1923-30”
  • Szarkowski, “Introduction” from The Photographer’s Eye

 

Week 4:          Quiz #1          

Module 7:       

Assignments: 

  1. Optional discussion forum
  2. Quiz 1

 

Week 5:          Photography as an Instrument for Social Change: 1900-1950

Module 8         Photography as an Instrument for Social Change: 1900-1950

Assignments:

  1. Panopto video lecture
  2. Discussion forum
  3. Summary/Reflective essay

Readings:

 Text:    Chapter 12

 ER:      Hine, “Social Photography”

 Week 6:          Photography and the Historical Avant-Garde

Module 9         Photography and the Historical Avant-Garde

 Assignments: 

  1. Panopto video lecture
  2. Optional discussion forum
  3. Quiz 2

Readings:

Text: Chapters 8, 10, (review) 11      

  • Marinetti, “Futurist Manifesto”
  • Breton, “First Manifesto of Surrealism”

Week 7:          Mid-Century Currents: from Street Photography to Pop

Module 10:      Mid-Century Currents: from Street Photography to Pop          

Assignments: 

  1. Panopto video lecture
  2. Discussion forum
  3. Summary/Reflective essay

Readings:

Text: Chapters 15, 16

  • Foster, “Death in America”
  • Coleman, “The Directorial Mode: Towards a Definition”
  • Optional: Kriebel, “Theories of Photography: A Short History” focus on sections 2-3, pp. 15-38

 Week 8:          Photography, “Conceptual Art,” and Identity Politics

Module 11:      Photography and “Conceptual Art”

Assignments:

  1. Panopto video lecture
  2. Discussion Forum

Readings:

Text: Chapter 18

 Module 12:      Photography and the Politics of Identity

 Assignments:

  1. Panopto video lecture
  2. Summary/Reflective essay

Readings:

Text: (Review) Chapter 18

  • Meyer, “Barring Desire: Robert Mapplethorpe and the Discipline of Photography”
  • Optional: Williamson, “Images of Women”
  • Optional: Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”

Week 9:          Some Aspects of Contemporary Photography

Module 13      

Assignments: 

  1. Panopto video lecture
  2. Optional discussion forum
  3. Quiz 3

Readings:

Text: (Review) Chapter 18

  • Kriebel, “Theories of Photography: A Short History” focus on section 4, pp. 38-43
  • Galassi, “Gursky’s World”
  • Optional: Batchen, “Post Photography”
  • Optional: Plummer, “String, Space and Surface in the Photographs of Vik Muniz”
Catalog Description: 
Survey of photography from its beginnings in the early 19th century to the digital imaging of today. Study photography as an artistic medium, a social text, a technological adventure, and a cultural practice. Key photographers, cultural movements and recurring themes will be explored with close attention to the social and cultural contexts in which photographs were produced, circulated and consumed.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
March 27, 2019 - 2:00am

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