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ARTH 386 Art and the Viewer: The Right to Look: Race, Aesthetics, Politics

  • Thursdays, 2:45 - 5:15pm
  • EV 1.615
  • Instructor: Dr. Balbir K. Singh

This class will begin with the question of the right to look—a position that stands against the gaze of power, of visuality. Based on the book by visual theorist Nicholas Mirzeoff, “The Right to Look” will force us to confront assumptions around what it means to possess vision as an ability first and foremost. From Mirzeoff, we will learn what it means to return power’s gaze, by seeing with friendship, solidarity, and love. We will further consider what it means to escape vision or sight, through opacity and fugitivity as evasions of imagistic and representational capture. We will read a number of texts spanning fields including surveillance studies, studies of contemporary art, anti-colonial theory, visual and material culture, fashion studies, and abolitionist writing, to engage thematic questions that center race and racial justice; aesthetic theory; sense and sensation; and political and social movement.

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