COM 232 Visual Literacy
Syllabus Assignments

Course Description

It is one of the great ironies of contemporary existence that we are beset, informed, controlled, and constructed by images, yet we receive almost no formal training in understanding and creating visual communication. Visual Literacy addresses this issue through interdisciplinary study of the terminology and theory of visual communication, with special emphasis on the relationship of visuality and cultural practice. Considering ideas from art history, photography, film, mass media, and cultural studies, students will be asked to analyze visual rhetoric, begin to see critically, articulate meaning, and author visual rhetoric of their own.


Helfand: Squaring the Circle (Amazon excerpt)
Barthes: Mythologies (excerpts TBA)
Brody (The New Yorker) "The Uses of Mythologies"
Sontag: On Photography
Foucault: Panopticism (paragraphs 1-15 only)
Berger: Naked and Nude (Ways of Seeing)


How to Read Critically and Interact With Texts
Glossary of Design
Camera Termonology


Worksheet: Signs (film)
Worksheet: Insomnia (film)
Worksheet: On Photography (article)
Worksheet: One Hour Photo (film)
Worksheet: Panopticism (article)

Juliet's Grammar & Style Handouts

Juliet's Proofreading Marks (.pdf)
Grammar Tips (.pdf)
Style Tips (.pdf)
Visual Analysis Language Tips (.pdf)
Slickwrite.com is free software that marks your writing style.

(NOTE: Some PowerPoint presentations have graphic images and strong language. I suggest that students view them after they are discussed in class,rather than before, so that they may be read in the context of those lessons.)

Unit 1: Description & Interpretation
Intro to Visual Literacy
Media & Techniques (for 2D creative experiment)
Visual Elements and Principles Flash | PPT
Class Exercise: Bronzino, Hals, Guston
Art Analysis Group Work | lesson plan
Looking at Art

Unit 2: Media
Film Intro
How to Read Critically and Interact With Texts
On Photography (Sontag)

Unit 3: A Little Critical Theory

Panopticism (Foucault)
Naked and Nude (Berger)