“Image Theory” deals with a specific visual constellation: it asks what an image is, how it addresses us, and how its features change throughout history – but “Image Theory” may also mean theorizing by means of images and exploring their potential for the humanities and social sciences. The course combines these two notions: it gives insight into past and present concepts of the image, and it demonstrates how various fields of knowledge ‘think’ with images.

In view of the image’s stupendous breadth (from Byzantine icon to digital diagram, from photograph to fetish, from dream to meme), the course focusses on certain pictorial aspects. In our discussions and on two field trips, we will examine how images can evoke narratives, construct gender, or invent a self; we will experience how they create (Baroque) illusion or (virtual) immersion; we look into their capacity to represent cultural discourses or translate the natural sciences. In this manner, participants will not only become acquainted with numerous facets and functions of the image but also with its seminal position at the heart of many academic disciplines.

You can watch a short TRAILER for the course here: