In 1859 Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote of the new science and art of photography: “Every conceivable object of Nature and Art will soon scale off its surface for us. Men will hunt all curious, beautiful, grand objects, as they hunt the cattle in South America, for their skins and leave the carcasses as of little worth.” We now live in the world that Holmes could then only glimpse. In this course we will study the relationship between skin and carcass, surface and reality, through the history of oil painting, light, photography, films, and television. We will pay special attention to issues of representation, presentation, spectacle and celebrity. Texts may include works by Susan Sontag, John Berger, Sally Stein, Jacques Ranci'ere, Daniel Boorstin, Wolfgang Schivelbush, Joshua Gamson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Liz Ewen, Charles Baudelaire, Lizabeth Cohen, Lewis Hine, and Guy Debord as well as period films and television programs.
Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)