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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Ways of Seeing: Image, Text, Illumination

Instructor(s): Michelle Rhee, English

Ways of Seeing will introduce students to disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives about the intersections of text and image. The task of seeing inevitably forces us to read subtle or explicit visual cues while understanding the role of spatial dynamics and language in message-making and knowledge formation. We will discover what happens when a visual artist incorporates words onto a painted canvas or when an author surrounds an image with language in a work of literature. Analyzing film, graphic novels, concrete poetry, illustrations, advertisements, and other mixed media projects, we will ask: Is there a power balance as a text or image struggles to come to the fore? How does one illuminate the other? Marshall McLuhan's famous dictum, "The Medium is the Massage," will guide our discussions as we examine how a message is formulated by the way our senses are massaged or manipulated. The course will take place in the Tang Museum, where students will not only have regular access to the current exhibits but will also have the opportunity to contribute to the Winter Gallery in the museum. This seminar will include a visit to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in Manhattan.


Course Offered