Spring 2023



Film, photography, media, and art shape how we process and deal with political and social phenomena as diverse as war, disease, border violence, migration and displacement, the securitization of states, and global financial crises. While it is widely recognized that we live in a visual age, how we read our world visually and how our world shapes our visual reality are questions that require more attention in college curricula. As “human experience is now more visual and visualized than ever before” -- as visual theorist Nicholas Mirzoeff observes -- it is crucial to learn how to “read” the visual as a site of power, struggle, order, and change. Further, as Ariella Azoulay argues, migrating images make up a "universal language of citizenship and revolution," which is developed in response to the "universal language of power" -- increasing our students’ visual literacy is therefore paramount both in terms of their academic development and civic engagement.

The proposed OSUN titled “Visual Politics” will give students the tools and theoretical know-how to understand how institutions as diverse as governments, political and humanitarian organizations, culture industry, and civil society shape what images people see and how they make sense of them. Bringing together together the subjects of politics, global studies, postcolonial studies, visual art, as well as media and cultural studies, the course will introduce students to critical theories of race, empire, nation, development, and sovereignty as well as the key tools of visual analysis.

The course is envisioned as 1) a site of shared learning and knowledge-production between students across campuses and 2) a site of innovative pedagogy that emphasizes skills based learning that combines theoretical and critical reflection with a range of technologies. Participating students will be expected to intern or do research with cultural organizations, NGOs and other civil society initiatives that take image-making, circulation, and/or reception to be their core of their missions. As an international, interdisciplinary initiative, Visual Politics will support the OSUN mission to integrate curricula and teaching across partner institutions, expand critical literacy, and support civic engagement. It is also in line with the initiatives spearheaded by Bard’s Center for Experimental Humanities.


This course is not offered every semester. If your campus is offering the course, visit your institutions' course registration site to enroll.


Al-Quds Bard College
Political Visualization


American University of Beirut
Introduction to Visual Culture


Bard College Berlin
Visual Politics


Saida Hamad

Al-Quds Bard College

Sara Mourad

American University of Beirut

Hanan Toukan

Bard College Berlin