Jeremy C. Justus, Words and Images, Fall 2018


This interdisciplinary course explores the relationships between language and the diverse kinds of images that often accompany it (film, video, photography, book illustration, painting, etc.). The course goal is to study the parallels and differences between images and words (as systems of communication) and to understand how they can productively interrelate within creative and critical works like literature, film, video and new media, and photographic studies.

Along these lines, this course will urge students to consider the longstanding relationship between visual and literary cultures. Contemporary culture is, in so many ways, visual culture. This makes sense, given that humans have a natural urge to produce and consume visual information. After all, the largest parts of our brains are those responsible for processing what our eyes see. But visual information arguably always has a linguistic counterpart, even if it only resides in our instinctive urges to interpret and, in so doing, make sense of what we see. It is thus no surprise that there are usually textual counterparts to primarily visual cultural products: films have scripts, photographs have captions, even works of visual art are typically accompanied by a title and author bio (at the very least). Moreover, each genre of visual art arguably has a story to tell, and it is our job to translate that story into words.

This semester, we’ll examine these phenomena from multiple perspectives. And, in the process, we’ll create bits of visual culture of our own.

Required Texts and Materials:

• Most assigned readings will be available digitally. If you would prefer to read hard copies, you should reserve a portion of your budget for printing costs.
• Ear buds / headphones for viewing / listening to works in class.
• A Google account (you’ll need it for Google Maps, Google Drive, and Blogger)
• A cloud storage account (I recommend DropBox and/or Google Drive).

Note: This is only the first six pages of the course syllabus. Does not include course calendar.