HUMN 1049 Understanding Visual Culture

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 101979

Coordinator Alex Ling Opens in new window

Description Visual media are a major feature of everyday life in contemporary society. The circulation of images shapes our sense of who we are individually and collectively; how we move through the world; and the possibilities that exist for enacting social change. This unit introduces students to the histories and theories of visual culture, from painting and photography, through cinema and television, to digital media, including social media and user-generated content. Students will gain practical skills in analyzing visual and audiovisual texts as well as a comprehensive understanding of the role of visual culture in the production and maintenance of power relations. These skills are crucial to engaging critically with contemporary culture.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Studies in Human Society, Not Elsewhere Classified.

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your HECS Band contribution amount via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 1 subject

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
  1. Recognise a range of visual, audio-visual and multi-media forms and genres.
  2. Explain relevant key concepts and terminologies
  3. Analyse a range of visual texts important to the study of visual culture, historical and contemporary art, and digital media forms
  4. Demonstrate critical reading skills in the field of visual culture

Subject Content

This subject is modularised and teaching and content may vary slightly from semester to semester based upon staff teaching and research expertise. The subject will focus on different visual modes, such as painting, photography, screen cultures and digital cultures. The subject will examine concepts and methodologies of visual culture study and analysis, which may include
modes of spectatorship
viewing practices


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Item Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Quiz Weekly quiz (run over 10 weeks total): best 8 of 10 will be counted for assessment 20 N Individual
Essay 1,000 words 40 N Individual
Final Exam 1,200 words 40 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • A Subject Reader will be available from the Connect Bookshop

Teaching Periods




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Penrith (Kingswood)


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Parramatta - Victoria Rd


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