The course introduces the students to (a) the relationship between visual studies as an academic discipline and the use of images in various social and cultural contexts; (b) the intersection between visual studies, memory studies and cultural heritage studies; (c) the variety and evolution of media interpreted as part of visual culture, such as paintings, photography and moving images; (d) various types of functioning and uses of images in relation to present-day concerns and challenges, such as national identity, armed conflicts, pandemics, digitalization and artificial intelligence, etc.
The students will gain the skill to assess and discuss the use of images and the power of images both inside and outside of institutions that preserve cultural heritage (museums and galleries), in relation to key concepts in memory and heritage studies (materiality, tangibility, and intangibility), as well as in a wider social and cultural context. Case studies from the Global South and the Global East are brought up for discussion in the course, and they are given particular attention.
Students also get to know theories relevant to the study of uses of images and evolution of the discipline of visual studies, such as theories related to pictorial turn, the phenomena of "visualism" and "visuality", as well as relationship with other fields of study (such as art history, performance studies, imagology, etc.).