“Image Theory” relates to a specific visual constellation: it asks what an image is, how it addresses us, and how its features vary throughout history. But in a slight shift of accent, “Image Theory” may also mean theorizing with or by means of images and exploring their potentials for philosophy, anthropology, sociology, psychology, epistemology ... The course is located at the intersection of these two notions. It gives insight into seminal modern definitions of the image, and it analyzes how different fields of knowledge actively ‘think’ with images.

Considering the image concept’s great historical variability (from Byzantine theology and Baroque illusionism to modern realism or cutting-edge digital design) and also its stupendous generic breadth (painting, three-dimensional sculpture, still photograph, animated data visualization, fetish, video game, diagram, dream), the course cannot provide an exhaustive overview of all types of images. Instead we will focus on specific images as both objects and tools of thinking. We examine, for instance, how painting can represent new social discourses (Michel Foucault) or participate in the construction of gender (Mieke Bal). We look into the psychoanalytic dimension of images (Sigmund Freud) and into their capacity to translate paradigms from the natural sciences (Michel Serres). We ‘read’ the image as a visual narrative or ‘sense’ it as a material phenomenon. In this manner, participants will not only learn about issues of imagery and imagination but also about their position at the heart of many academic disciplines at CEU.

You can watch a short TRAILER for the course here: