ARTH 222
Photography in/of the Middle East Spring 2020
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed ARAB 222 / ARTH 222

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Photography has been globally disseminated and locally inflected since its invention. In the Middle East, the powers and pleasures of the medium have been valued by colonial forces, indigenous populations, photojournalists and artists; the resulting images merit aesthetic and art historical appreciation even as they grant visual access to the social and political dynamics operative in diverse cultural contexts. We will explore photographic practices in various zones of the Middle East–e.g., the Holy Land, Turkey, Egypt and the Persian sphere–by attending to individual photographers and case studies. This tightly focused approach will support, in turn, a consideration of the agency and power of images more generally–what work do photographs do? Who resists and who benefits? The goal will be to appreciate diverse styles and perspectives that underlie renderings of the Middle East.
The Class: Type: lecture/discussion
Limit: none
Expected: 15-20
Class#: 3224
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: midterm, Glow posts, term project
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: none
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ARAB 222 Division I ARTH 222 Division I
DPE Notes: Photographs are tricky. Whose experiences and values do they really represent--those who are depicted? Those who wield the camera? Or, those who view images that are so easily reproduced and widely shared? How does identity figure? Religious conviction? Political affiliation? And how are these variables encoded in the material evidence? Appreciating the myriad powers of images requires multiple skills--from close-looking to interdisciplinary analysis--useful in contemporary visual culture.

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