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The Power of Images: Memory, Heritage, and Visual Culture
Course Description

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.).

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will gain the following knowledge and skills:



  • have insight into how images have been circulating through cultures and contexts;
  • have knowledge of key academic debates and concepts related to visual studies, memory studies and cultural heritage studies;
  • be familiar with various aspects of the relationship between these and other disciplines.



  • be able to analyze the differences and convolutions between visual studies as an academic discipline and other uses of images, especially within institutions and activities related to cultural heritage.
  • be able to analyze various types of cases, where images defined our perception of cultural heritage and/or influenced collective memory about certain historical events.
  • be able to write an academic term paper, having enhanced advanced research and writing skills;
  • Attendance, active class participation, discussion of assigned readings (25% of the grade) – 25 points
  • An idea outline for the term paper, within a given deadline, circa 250 words (10% of the grade) – 10 points
  • Outline of the term paper, within a given deadline, circa 2000 words, (25% of the grade) – 25 points
  • Final paper, within a given deadline, circa 4000 words (40% of the grade) – 40 points


The points will be transferred into grading points from 0.00 to 4.00, the final grade will be calculated based ont he guidelines of the Student Records Office’s Manual, p. 3-4

Course Level
Academic Year
US Credits
ECTS Credits
Course Code