2nd Edition

An Introduction to Visual Culture

ISBN 9780415327596
Published June 26, 2009 by Routledge
352 Pages

USD $62.95

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Book Description

An Introduction to Visual Culture provides a wide-ranging introduction to the now established interdisciplinary field of visual culture.

Mapping a global history and theory of visual culture, An Introduction to Visual Culture asks how and why visual media have become so central to everyday life. This new, completely updated second edition has been adapted to match the challenges of interpreting globalization since the publication of the first edition a decade ago.

Improved text design and colour images throughout make it an even more valuable teaching tool. Brand new features in the second edition include Key Image studies from Holbein’s The Ambassadors, to Blade Runner and the Abu Ghraib atrocities; and a Key Words section in each chapter, discussing vital critical terms and the debates that surround them.

In this innovative, thoroughly revised and extended edition, Nicholas Mirzoeff explores:

  • an extensive range of visual forms from painting, sculpture, and photography to television, cinema, and the Internet
  • the centrality of ‘race’ and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and the body in shaping visual culture
  • the importance of images of natural disaster and conflict, such as Hurricane Katrina and the ongoing war in Iraq.

Table of Contents

Preface  Introduction  1. Sight Becomes Vision: From al-Haytham to Perspective  2. '1492': Expulsions, Expropriations, Encounters  3. Slavery, Modernity and Visual Culture  4. Panoptic Modernity  5. Imperial Transcultures: From Kongo to Congo  6. Sexuality Disrupts: Measuring the Silences  7. Inventing the West  8. Decolonizing Vision  9. Discrete States: Digital Worlds From the Difference Engine to Web 2.0  10. The Death of ‘The Death of Photography’  11. Celebrity: From Imperial Monarchy to Reality TV  12. Watching War.

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Nicholas Mirzoeff is Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University. He is author and editor of several books including Watching Babylon (1995) and The Visual Culture Reader, also now in its second edition (2002).





"Nicholas Mirzoeff’s new synthesis of visual culture study is a tour-de-force comparative reading that begins where most comprehensive books in the field leave off, with globalization. If, as Mirzoeff tells us in his scintillating style, visuality has alienated vision from its users, then this lively and impassioned account is certain to put readers right at the heart of the problem with a spectrum of examples through which to work it through."Lisa Cartwright, Professor of Communication and Science Studies, University of California at San Diego, USA

"In this updated and expanded second edition of his provocative An Introduction to Visual Culture, Nicholas Mirzoeff takes us on a momentous journey through visual culture to our own network society. As a careful historian and dextrous theorist, by interweaving modalities of visuality, the author tracks a path – sometimes utopian, more often dystopian – in search of a possibility just beyond our grasp: the dream of transculture as the sign of our democratic politics. For Mirzoeff, such a journey is only feasible by way of the interdisciplinary field of Visual Culture Studies where visual culture is understood as the study of ‘the place of visuality in the division of the sensible’. He is right."Marquard Smith, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Visual Culture, and Principal Lecturer in Visual Culture Studies, University of Westminster, London, UK