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Visualizing the Future

ENGL 392.402
also offered as: CIMS 392, ARTH 389,COML 391
Wednesday 2-5:00pm
How do we visualize the future? Visuality, futurity, and practices of visualizing the future (or futures) are, to me, an inherently political undertaking. Images, visual practices, and visuality make possible particular ways of seeing, thinking, and imagining our worlds. Describing the political nature of images, Roland Bleiker writes, “they delineate what we, as collectives, see and what we don’t and thus, by extension, how politics is perceived, sensed, framed, articulated, carried out, and legitimized” (2018, 4). The stakes of visuality are high. Whether or how an individual, a community, an issue, or an event is depicted can have powerful effects on how histories are narrated, howprecarity might be attended to, or how categories of knowledge are reproduced or disrupted. The future is also a concept with significant political stakes. The future is not a given or determined system of relations. Our perspectives on history, hegemonic structures and institutions, and narratives of the possible all shape the multiple futures that might be brought into being or foreclosed. The work of rethinking and reimagining possible worlds requires a host of practices, which include the work of seeing, of image-making, and other visual methods. To visualize the future is political work. This course will explore the political work of images, visual practices, and futurities. Texts will be drawn from canonical and emergent works in visual studies and media theory, as well as Indigenous studies, Black studies, multispecies studies, and political ecology. Assignments will include reflective essays, field visits to museums and art galleries in the Philadelphia area, and a final extended essay.
fulfills requirements