The Visual Culture specialization is addressed to students with B.A. degrees in the field of humanities (especially cultural anthropology, philosophy, sociology, history and art), interested in the anthropology and image theory, as well as history of visual media. The program fits into the theoretical framework developed in the last years in the most significant academic centers around the world involved in the study of images (visual culture studies). The Visual Culture specialization is envisioned as a coherent, but heterogeneous scholarly and didactic project. Our goal is to broaden the traditional frameworks of thinking about images – the aesthetic (art history) or technological (media studies) – by adding the framework of anthropology, history of culture, sociology and philosophy. The specialization will also provide the students with critical and analytical tools, which will be used to interpret specific phenomena and events of visual culture.
The popular opinion about the progressing „visualization of culture” (since mid 20th century), even if partly justified, has to be investigated and analyzed with the use of theoretical tools. Courses within the „Visual Culture” specialization will thus ask a number of crucial questions – How does the domination of the image manifest itself? How does the image work and what are both the causes and effects of this supposed visual hegemony? In order to answer all these questions we will be investigating both commonplace, everyday practices, as well as philosophical and theoretical concepts.
Within the field of visual culture the image is understood as far more than a work of art. It is primarily a „social and cultural fact”, one of the most important factors regulating the relations between the visual field and the social field. It is also essential to emphasize the role of the gaze and the practices of seeing in the process of creating, experiencing and interpreting the phenomena of contemporary culture and postmodern philosophies of the subject. If we agree that contemporary culture is visual, then deepening and developing visual awareness is crucial, as it will not only help in the interpretation of specific images or media, but allow for a critique of culture as whole.
The goal of the „Visual Culture” specialization is to indicate and verify basic visual competences of the participant of culture in the beginning of the 21st century. That is why it is crucial to maintain a balance between theoretical, historical, analytical and practical courses. The major will prepare students for further academic work (graduate school), but also for work within the field of cultural institutions. Both areas demand a conscious, critical and productive approach to images, media and seeing. The program stimulates looking, seeing and watching culture from different perspectives and points of view.