Introduction to Visual Studies


General: Acquire fundamental scientific knowledge in the area designated, in broad terms, by Visual Studies and understand its  nature multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary; Get a historical understanding of Visual Studies from its affiliation and autonomy of Art History and Cultural Studies and its operational relationship with related domains (such as visual culture, gender studies, queer studies, colonial studies, etc.); Understand different approaches to the problem of image in contemporary visual culture, in particular, through the interrelationships between art, science and technology.

Specifics: Acquire a critical understanding of the intersections between the role of the image, the observer and the visual culture in contemporary times; Understand the role that the visual and the visible play in modern visual culture; Assess the primary role of visual culture in the processes of globalization and transnationalization.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Victor Manuel Guerra dos Reis


Weekly - Available soon

Total - 280

Teaching language



Not applicable.


  • AUMONT, Jacques. 1990. A Imagem. Lisboa: Edições Texto & Grafia, 2009;
  • ELKINS, James. 2008. Six Stories from the End of Representation: Images in Painting, Photography, Astronomy, Microscopy, Particle Physics, and Quantum Mechanics, 1980-2000. Stanford: Stanford University Press;
  • FREEDBERG, David. 1989. The Power of Images: Studies in the History and Theory of Response. Chicago: University of Chicago Press;
  • GOMBRICH, E. H. 1960. Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation. 5ª ed. Londres: Phaidon Press, 1994;
  • MIRZOEFF, Nicholas. 1999. An Introduction to Visual Culture. Londres e Nova York: Routledge;
  • MITCHELL, W. J. T. 1986. Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology. Chicago: Chicago University Press;
  • SOLSO, Robert L. 1994. Cognition and Visual Arts. Cambridge (MA.): The MIT Press;
  • ZEKI, Semir. 1999. Inner Vision: An Exploration of Art and the Brain. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

Teaching method

Due to its condition of theoretical course, the classes of Introduction to Visual Studies consist of oral exposition and observation and/or audition of images, video or sound excerpts and other audiovisual materials. At the same time, participation through dialog, open discussion, questioning and clarification of doubts is sought. Classes will be accompanied, whenever necessary, by texts or fundamental images.

Evaluation method

Evaluation Method - Attendance and Participation(20%), Individual and/or Group Work(80%)

Subject matter


1.1. Introduction: Theory of Image as a research domain;
1.2. The images and the observer: emotion and rapture;
1.3. The images of the observer: figuration and disfigurement;
1.4. The gaze of the observer: construction and transformation.


2.1. Visuality: the visible and the invisible;
2.2. Signification: the visual and the textual;
2.3. Representation: the substitution and the simulation;
2.4. Illusion: the fiction and the collusion;
2.5. Depth: the window and the screen.


3.1. The images and the world: the natural and the artificial;
3.2. The images of the world: the true and the false;
3.3. A world of images: idolatry and iconoclasm;
3.4. From image culture to visual culture: dissemination, contamination and crisis.