VAFA196 History of Photography

Department of The Arts: Photography

I. Course Number and Title
VAFA196 History of Photography
II. Number of Credits
3 credits
III. Minimum Number of Instructional Minutes Per Semester
2250
IV. Prerequisites
None
Corequisites
None
V. Other Pertinent Information
Museum trip is mandatory.
VI. Catalog Course Description
This survey course covers the history of photography from its invention in 1839 to the present day. Specific artists, movements, and technical histories will be explored, together with some of the relationships between photography and aesthetics, culture, and social history.
VII. Required Course Content and Direction
  1. Learning Goals:

    1. Course
    2. Students will:
      1. recognize the major periods and styles of photography from its introduction to the present day;
      2. describe photographic images using appropriate art historical vocabulary (i.e., perform a formal analysis);
      3. identify and explain the subject matter of a photograph;
      4. interpret the possible meaning of a photograph within an appropriate and arguable context (e.g., historical, religious, political, economic, social, racial, gender roles, etc.); and
      5. apply research skills using library resources and/or scholarly Internet sites.

    3. Core (if applicable)
    4. Category I:
      Cultural Perspectives
      Students will:
      1. compare, contrast, analyze, and/or defend differing world views and practices. (1,2)

      Category III:
      International, Gender, and/or Minority Perspectives:
      Students will:
      1. articulate similarities and differences in the various cultures of the world and demonstrate familiarity with the skills necessary to make informed judgments.
  2. Planned Sequence of Topics and/or Learning Activities:

    Students learn in class and through museum visits an introductory level of the history of photography from 1839 to the present, including key technical innovations, the practical and artistic explorations of the medium, the evolution of various formal movements (e.g. Pictorialism and Modernism), the creation of social and journalistic documents, and critical/theoretical issues raised and explored in photography. They will learn basic terminology used in the study of visual art forms and apply this vocabulary to photography. Students will examine photography as a reflection of its cultural origin and will explore how photographic images can be interpreted in the content of history, religion, politics, economics, social hierarchies, race relations, gender roles, etc. As appropriate, they will examine how photography has affected and/or reflected aspects of American culture.
  3. Assessment Methods for Core Learning Goals:

    1. Course
      1. required exams that include essay questions
      2. required museum paper with proper use and citation of research materials
      3. optional quizzes
      4. optional writing assignments

    2. Core (if applicable)
    3. A departmentally-developed writing assignment fulfills the Core Learning Goals in Cultural Perspectives and International Gender and/or Minority Perspectives.
  4. Reference, Resource, or Learning Materials to be used by Students:

    Learning materials may include, but are not limited to: slides, video, digital media, audio, lectures, and demonstrations. Departmentally-selected textbook. See course format.
VIII. Teaching Methods Employed
Section VIII is not being used in new and revised syllabi as of 12/10/08.

Review/Approval Date - 1/2010; Revised 02/2011