Bush at Mt. Rushmore

President George W. Bush speads Aug. 15, 2002, at Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. Images we see every day as “news” are often carefully staged to produce a visual message about the subject. (Reuters/Larry Downing)

Part 1: Sensual theories of perception

  1. READ: Lecture notes, Media Literacy (PDF).
  2. WATCH: Discovering Psychology: Part 7, Sense and Perception. We will show this in class, but you can review it online. Look for the link “Individual Program Descriptions,” then choose Program 7. Sense and Perception.
  3. READ: Lecture notes, Gestalt theory of perception.

QUIZ 1 on Thursday, Sept. 14, will cover these readings.

DO for Thursday, Sept. 14: Exercise 1. Read the instructions carefully.

Part 2: Cognitive theories of perception

  1. READ: Understanding Comics:
    • Chapter 1: Setting the record straight
    • Chapter 2: The vocabulary of Comics
  2. READ: Semiotics: The Theory Behind Media Literacy (PDF).
  3. REVIEW: The transcript from Stuart Hall, Representation and the Media (PDF) This is a downloadable PDF file.
  4. READ: Lecture notes, The Uses of Art (HTML).

QUIZ 2 on Thursday, Sept. 28, will cover these readings.

DO Exercise 2: Note that one assignment is for Tuesday, Sept. 26 The other assignments are due Thursday, Sept. 28. Read the instructions carefully and include your results in your portfolio.

Part 3: Tropes, genre, intertextuality

  1. READ: In Understanding Comics, Chapter 7: The six steps
  2. REVIEW: Lecture notes on tropes, a special type of signifier (PDF).
  3. REVIEW: Lecture notes on intertextuality (HTML).
  4. REVIEW: Lecture notes on photographic genres (HTML)

QUIZ 3 on Thursday, Oct. 12, will cover these readings.

DO Exercise 3 for Thursday, Oct. 12.

Comic book artists have made a study of techniques such as dramatic perspective. Watch how Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee and John Buscema use basic shapes to add volume to their drawings and exploit the power of perspective (YouTube videos).

Part 4: Composition basics and typography

  1. READ: In Understanding Comics,
    • Chapter 6: Show and Tell
    • Chapter 5: Living in line
  2. REVIEW: Lecture notes on the basic elements of visual communication.
  3. REVIEW: Lecture notes on perspective.
  4. REVIEW: Lecture notes on the origins of typography.
  5. READ: “Absolute Powerpoint: Can a software package edit our thoughts?” by Ian Parker from The New Yorker, May 28, 2001.
  6. READ: The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within (PDF) by Edward Tufte.

QUIZ 4 on Thursday, Nov. 2, will cover these readings.

DO for Thursday, Nov. 2, Exercise 4.

Part 5: Photography and the truthful image

  1. READ: William Mitchell, “Intention and Artifice,” (PDF) Chapter 3 in The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era (Cambridge, Mass., 2001: The MIT Press).
  2. READ: Laura Collins, Pixel Perfect: Pascal Dangin’s virtual reality. The New Yorker, May 12, 2008.

  3. READ: Mallory A. Russell, How Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty Ushered in New Age of Female Empowerment
  4. WATCH: Evolution, the best known of many videos Dove made to accompany this campaign (YouTube video)
  5. REVIEW: Lecture notes on the origins of photography (HTML)
  6. REVIEW: A Timeline of photographic development.

QUIZ 5 on Thursday, Nov. 16, will cover these readings.

DO for Tuesday, Nov. 14 (upload images) and Thursday, Nov. 16, Exercise 5. IMPORTANT: This exercise involves taking pictures and uploading them to our OneDrive folder. The images must be submitted by the end of the day on Tuesday, Nov. 14. The rest of the assignment is due Thursday, Nov. 16.

Part 6: The moving image

  1. READ: Understanding Comics:
    • Chapter 3: Blood in the Gutter
    • Chapter 4: Time Frames
  2. READ: Robert L. Carringer, “Art Direction” and “Cinematography” (PDF) in The Making of Citizen Kane (Berkeley, 1997: University of California Press)

  3. REVIEW: Lecture notes on mise en scène (HTML)
  4. REVIEW: Lecture notes on montage (HTML)

Quiz 6 on Thursday, Nov. 30, will cover these materials.

DO for Thursday, Nov. 30, Exercise 6.

Part 7: Advertising and the ever-present image

DO for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 19 (our final exam time) Exercise 7.

FINAL EXAM

Our final exam is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 19. The final will cover Part 7 and the rest of the course material.

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