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Dr. Martha Selby, Chair 120 INNER CAMPUS DR STOP G9300 WCH 4.134 78712-1251 • 512-471-5811

Fall 2009

ANS 385 • Visual Evidence in Modern China

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
31230 TH
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
GAR 0.132

Course Description

How do we see? Why do we see? Are visions always reliable? How does our visual experience add to, or on the contrary, challenge our perception of the world? These are only but a few questions that puzzle writers and thinkers since Plato: for Plato vision is illusion whereas for a Chinese writer like Lu Xun, vision has the power of turning a spectator into spectacle.Through a broad reading of literary texts and critical writings on photography, pictorial press, advertisement, cinema, and fashion, this course explores the interactions of social context, technology, and culture in modern China. Students will be guided to think more extensively and contextually about the role material media plays in changing epistemological formations, and in defining the "modern" in Chinese literary and cultural fields. The class uses mainly fiction for the literary texts. In many cases, literary text itself becomes a pictograph with careful design and printing, a manifestation of modern, or modernist, sensibility. For critical writings, students will read and discuss theoretical and methodological treatises of ranging from photography to museum exhibitions. The seminar is divided into a series of broadly designated thematic units, subject to emendations based on the specific interests of participants in the seminar. The readings and discussions covered in Weeks 1-2 will set up some of the general theoretical and methodological issues in the study of modern visual culture, and Weeks 5-12 will cover a range of topics in roughly chronological sequence, all centering around the problem of “reading the visual” in modern China.

Grading Policy

Final presentation and seminar paper (60%); class participation, oral reports, reading responses (40%).


Course packet


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