Interdisciplinarity and Visual Culture notes

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Mitchell, W. J. T. “Interdisciplinarity and Visual Culture.” Art Bulletin 77.4 (December 1995): 540-44.

“‘iconology’ (the general study of images across the media) or more broadly ‘visual culture’ (the study of the social construction of visual experience)” (Mitchell 540).

“Interdisciplinarity, in short, is a way of seeming to be just a little bit adventurous and even transgressive, but not too much” (Mitchell 540).

“The great virtue of visual culture as a concept is that it is ‘indisciplinary’ in its tendencies; it names a problematic rather than a well-defined theoretical object” (Mitchell 542).

“The field of literary studies encounters visual culture with a similar kind of ambivalence. It is not quite sure why textual scholars should suddenly be looking at visual arts and media (the historical ‘accident’ that cinema studies is often taught in literature departments becomes relevant here, and needs examination). The ambivalence is compounded when the supremacy of textual theory and notions of culture based principally in the ‘linguistic turn’ encounter a visual or pictorial turn that does not seem reducible to discursive models. Literary history has always been necessarily more than a history of works of literary art. It has always had to address the whole field of language and verbal expression as a place in which the entire sensorium, most notably the visual, is engaged” (Mitchell 542).

“There is no way, in short, to keep visuality and visual images out of the study of language and literature” (Mitchell 543).

“Visual culture becomes an interesting concept only if its constituent terms and their relations are called into question” (Mitchell 543).

How does the visual seem to encompass an entire world view? (544)

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