A ED 812

A ED 812: Diversity, Visual Culture, and Pedagogy
Dr. Patricia Amburgy, Associate Professor of Art Education
pma5@psu.edu


This course examines diversity, visual culture, and pedagogy in various settings: the artworld, popular media, and cultural settings such as schools and museums. Diversity pertains to gender, sexual identity, social class, ethnicity, ability, age, and other attributes that shape our identities. This course pays special attention to issues of power and privilege in relation to diversity and visual culture. It examines ways that various forms of visual culture, situated in various social contexts, teach us who we are, what is "normal" in our society, and how we might change oppressive social conditions that currently exist. As defined in the course, visual culture includes paintings, sculptures, prints, and other forms of fine art as well as advertisements, news images, scientific images, television programs, and films. It includes toys, comic books, children's art-and more. Visual culture includes all manifestations of cultural life that are significant for their visual features. Pedagogy refers not only to formal methods of instruction, such as teaching and learning in classrooms. It also includes informal instruction through the arts, the media, popular forms of entertainment, and other social practices. Pedagogy includes being positioned by, or addressed in certain ways by various forms of visual culture. It includes the ways we actively interpret, use, and recreate forms of visual culture in our lives.

Objectives of the course include understanding diversity as defined in relation to various forms of visual culture; understanding the complex interactions of ethnicity, class, gender, sexual identity, and other aspects of diversity in visual culture; understanding issues of power and privilege in relation to visual culture; and understanding pedagogical issues related to visual culture, including forms of address and interpretation, as well as pedagogical practices such as teaching and learning in classrooms. By the end of the course, participants should be able to critically examine social constructions of race, class, gender, sexual identity, and other aspects of diversity in visual culture through both written and visual analyses. Participants should also be able to develop and implement units of instruction related to visual culture, and reflect on their own and others' teaching practices in schools and museums.

This is one of the required courses for the M.P.S. in Art Education. It is offered every other year with a maximum enrollment of 15 students.

Course Outline
1. Identity and community (2 weeks)
2. Dominant and disruptive representations in visual culture (5 weeks)
3. Visual culture as public pedagogy (4 weeks)
4. Diversity, visual culture, and pedagogy in schools and museums (4 weeks)

Major topics to be covered with an approximate length of time allotted for their discussion

1. Identity and community (2 weeks)
Introduction: Various aspects of our identities: age, religion, gender & sexual identity, geography, family, class/economic identity, political identity, recreation, race/ethnicity, occupation, health & body (1 week).
Dominant/stereotypical representations versus disruptive representations of identity communities; representations, power, and social privilege (1 week).

2. Dominant and disruptive representations in visual culture (5 weeks)
Representations of gender and sexual identity in visual culture (2 weeks)
Representations of race and ethnicity in visual culture (2 weeks)
Representations of class in visual culture (1 week)

3. Visual culture as public pedagogy (4 weeks)
Representation, forms of address, and making meaning (1 week)
Gazing at “others” and the exotic (1 week)
Watching movies, playing video games (1 week)
Consumerism (1 week)

4. Diversity, visual culture, and pedagogy in schools and museums (4 weeks)
Final research projects: course participants develop, implement, present, and reflect upon units of instruction related to visual culture (4 weeks)