Cult-H: Photography and the Post-human Image(Yola Monakhov Stockton, SUNY Buffalo State)
This Seminar is available to all students. No background required. Recommended for students interested in photography, history, media and technology, and cultural studies.
This seminar will consider the implications of photographic technology, from its invention in the 1820’s, through current models of computational imaging, surveillance technology and social media, with a view toward unpacking the role played by the medium in culture, politics and our lives. Work will include lectures, discussion, research, and personal artistic projects.
Coursework will cover the use of photography in cultural and political spheres including: early travel albums in the Near East, the Crimean War, colonialism in the Pacific, the Russian and European avant-garde, Soviet, Nazi and Fascist propaganda, the American Farm Security Administration, Cambodia’s Killing Fields, American civil rights, Abu Ghraib, photojournalism during the war on terror, Google-images, police body cameras, drones, CCTV, social media, bots, and surveillance.
At the same time, we will read and research from the literature of conceptual models accompanying the medium, including Structuralist and Post-Modern theory, archival studies, documentary studies, oral history, black radical theory, queer theory, feminism, and other approaches that analyze photography’s hegemonic structures and explore alternatives.
Alongside such theoretical considerations, we will investigate the work of artists who engage with the symbolic and mechanistic properties of the camera and its archives, often to surprising ends.
As we move through the seminar, we will also devise our own artistic projects, using the simple technology we have at hand, to interrogate structures of meaning and imaging within our purview of inquiry, thus creating artistic work to complement our intellectual labor.