Postgraduate Course: A Cultural History of Photography (PGHC11488)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||We live in a world saturated by images, yet many still regard a photograph as a mere illustration to history, rather than history itself. Examining the active role that the photograph has played in shaping the world since the nineteenth century allows us to understand our own responses to images, and the enduring power of the camera today.
This course considers the photograph and its various histories - as technological marvel, as artistic medium, as social text, as documentary evidence, and as cultural practice - from its prehistory to the present day. Our seminars are structured around key themes such as gender, crime, science, death, power, and empire, and each week students are asked to examine certain photographs within their various social and cultural contexts. An emphasis on the photograph as a material object that can be bought, sold, collected, inscribed, displayed, archived, or discarded is a key feature of the course, and in this context we pay particular attention to the digitisation of photography and its implications both for historians and for society.
Content warning: this course deals with subject matter, including images of dead and dying human subjects, which some students may find difficult.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
|Additional Costs|| Purchase of Mary Warner Marien, Photography: A Cultural History, Fourth Edition (London, 2014) is strongly recommended. The Third edition (2010) is also acceptable. New and used copies range from £11 to £35 on Amazon.
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2019/20, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Oral presentation (10%)
Contribution to seminars (10%)
1 x 4000-word essay (80%)
||Students will receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during his published office hours for this course or by appointment.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge relating to the histories of photography;
- demonstrate an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship on the histories and theories of photography;
- demonstrate an ability to analyse critically both textual and visual primary source materials;
- demonstrate an ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
- demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity.
|Mary Warner Marien, Photography: A Cultural History, Fourth Edition (London, 2014).|
Penny Tinkler, Using Photographs in Social and Historical Research (London, 2013).
Gillian Rose, Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials (London, 2001).
Richard Howells & Robert W. Matson (eds), Using Visual Evidence (London, 2009).
Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography (London, 1981).
Susan Sontag, On Photography (London, 1977).
John Berger, Understanding a Photograph (London, 2013).
Liz Wells (ed.), The Photography Reader (London, 2003).
John Tagg, The Burden of Representation: Essays on Photographies and Histories (Minnesota, 1993).
Elizabeth Edwards & Janice Hart (eds), Photographs, Objects, Histories: On the Materiality of Images (London, 2004).
Peter Burke, Eyewitnessing: The Uses of Images as Historical Evidence (London, 2001).
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Stephen McDowall
Tel: (0131 6)50 3754
|Course secretary||Mrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948