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Course Details

Spring 2013-2014
* GER 314   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Topics in the History and Theory of the Media - Reading Faces - Methods of deciphering in literature, sciences and art

Sigrid Weigel

A person's face is often regarded as a site of "natural" signs, which render visible the inner character, emotions, and thoughts. Yet the methods of deciphering such signs depend on artefacts--pictures, sculptures, descriptions--whose various modes of representing faces are themselves the product of interpretations, codes, constructions, and definitions. The course will study textual sources from literature, art theory, psychology, evolution theory, critical theory, and visual images from portraiture, photography, film, and science. Beginning with contemporary examples, it will undertake a genealogy and archeology of methods of deciphering.

Sample reading list:
Heinrich Heine, The French Picture Gallery and Travel from Munich to Genua
Charles Darwin, Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals
Paul Ekman/Wallace V. Friesen, Unmasking the Face
Jonathan Cole, About Faces
Gilles Deleuze/ Félix Guattari, Year Zero. Faciality. In: Thousand Plateaus
Hans Belting, Face orOpen Questions around the Prehistory of Christ's Icon

Reading/Writing assignments:
40-100 pages of reading per week, one midterm paper, and one final paper.

Requirements/Grading:
Paper in lieu of Final - 40%
Take Home Mid term Exam - 30%
Class/Precept Participation - 30%

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
41889 S01 01:30:00 pm - 04:20:00 pm M   East Pyne Building   205   Enrolled:2 Limit:25