The Social Life of Visual Media
This course takes a social science approach to new media, specifically visual media. The social sciences are concerned with visual media in two ways: as research tools, and as a topic of research. As research tools, visual media are created and analyzed in field research, and used in publication. As a research topic, visual media represent a significant form of activity and communication. People are increasingly using new technologies and media, including digital photography, cameraphones, video, and the internet, to create and use visual media for new purposes.
We will explore a variety of issues related to both these approaches. Our primary orientation is from the social sciences, not the humanities, but both are needed to understand this topic. In addition, we'll look at the technologies involved.
This course should be of interest to students in the social sciences, computer science, and the humanities who are interested in expanding their understanding of the uses of visual media and methods of studying them. This will be a highly-participatory seminar, with students expected to contribute to the discussion from their own discipline and to learn about other disciplines' approaches and understandings.