History of Art and Architecture

Visual Knowledge

Related tags

image/text relations

representational theory





Drew Armstrong

Josh Ellenbogen

Alison Langmead


Michelle McCoy

Tom Morton

Chris Nygren


Kirk Savage

Terry Smith


We come to know the world not only through words and texts but also through visual images anchored in real spaces.  Pictures, diagrams, illuminations, architectural constructions, museum displays, statues, and scientific visualizations reflect, as well as crucially establish, doctrines and ways of knowing that may also exist in discursive form. Just as our work investigates relations between visual media and non-visual formations, it also concentrates on relations across different visual media and on the ways that visual objects become irreducible to language or text. Since art history as a discipline has given such prominence to these issues, this constellation also possesses a strong historiographical focus.

In the spring term of 2013, the Visual Knowledge working group met to discuss readings that concerned the question of art and science. Writings by Lorraine Daston, Peter Galison, and James McAllister constituted the center of this discussion. In addition, the working group began establishing a full bibliography on the theme of Visual Knowledge to which graduate students can look in formulating their comprehensive exams.

In academic year 2013-14, the Visual Knowledge working group will focus on the organization of an exhibition in the University Gallery, one in which several of the department’s graduate students will play a leading role. The working group will also begin to develop itself as a pedagogical resource on which courses in HAA that concern Visual Knowledge can draw. Finally, we will also collaboratively decide in September of 2013 what broad question within Visual Knowledge will focus our readings in 2013-14.  Leading contenders include the organization of knowledge in museums and image/text relations in the history of the book.