Fall 2018

Faulty Vision

Listed in: First Year Seminar, as FYSE-124

Moodle site: Course


Niko Vicario (Section 01)


This course investigates the limits, problems, and errors of vision. Taught by an art historian, it nevertheless explores the defects of and obstructions to seeing, looking, and watching as these modes of apprehension figure in a variety of fields, from philosophy to biology to psychology to law to disability studies. Scrutinizing works of art, films, and other cultural materials, we will examine what can and cannot be gleaned from images. What is a picture’s relationship to truth, to evidence, to knowledge? Is there such a thing as a “period eye” (as art historian Michael Baxandall argued) or is sight trans-historical? What exceeds and what evades visibility? What is the role of vision in contemporary society, and how does the primacy of the visual in turn structure the social world? What might be gained from an embrace of other senses, and how would this sensory shift affect both our understanding and our experience?

Fall semester. Professor Vicario.


Fine Arts for Non-majors


2020-21: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018