“We need to think with our eyes,” the writer, critic, and photographer Teju Cole enjoins. In this interdisciplinary seminar we will consider what it might meant to “think with the eyes” by focusing on literary and theoretical works that rely on and incorporate images, as well as by examining works of visual art that make use of text. That is, our interest will lie in the intersection of text and image, of art and narrative. What does the visual add to the written and what does it demand in return? How do we write about the visual and visualize the written? How does storytelling differ across the text and image, and what happens to the story when the two are juxtaposed or combined? What new possibilities and paradigms, particularly for discussing ideas about race, class, gender, and sexuality, emerge when words and pictures are brought together? How can literature accommodate pictures and to what end? How can visual art expand upon available narrative possibilities? And how can genres like comix and iconotexts help us think about thinking with our eyes. Readings may include work by W.J.T. Mitchell, Roland Barthes, Teju Cole, W.G. Sebald, Anne Carson, Claudia Rankine, Art Speigelman, and Ben Lerner. We will also consider art works, including those by Taryn Simon, Sophie Calle, Jenny Holzer, Bruce Nauman, Zoe Leonard, David Wojnarowicz, Tracey Emin, and Erica Baum.
Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)