[skip to content]

Centre for Media Studies, School of Arts

Contemporary Visual Cultures of the Middle East

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 1

The module introduces students to current research on visual cultures, and explores theoretical approaches specifically for their application to the regional context of the Middle East.
It aims to contextualise the centrality of the 'image' as a communicative tool, and to assess the role of visual media as part of the current digital revolution. By presenting a wide variety of theoretical frameworks from different disciplines, it will critically contextualise the centrality of the visual language for socio-political research, and attentively engage today’s debate on the ‘visual turn.’
The course will include theoretical sessions, multimedia presentations, and one hands-on workshop in visual production.  
While the course focus is the Middle-East region, the module remains open to all students, regardless of any previous theoretical background, discipline, area study or regional language skill.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

  • Comprehend  and utilise a range of contemporary theories of the visual, the digital and the Web
  • Understand the nature of visual cultures and the politics of image production, distribution and consumption of and about the Middle East and its diasporas.
  • Analyse a variety of forms of digital and contemporary visual expression (art, photography, advertising; graffiti; posters, etc)

Scope and syllabus

For MA Global Media and Post-national Communication, it is a key option as it will present a theoretical toolkit for students to analyse, make sense and practically engage visual-led multimedia communication.  Concurrently, the application of the theoretical approaches to real scenarios in the Middle-East will allow participants to model diverse theories to the requirements of distinct socio-political contexts.  It will eventually function as an interesting additional regional option for MA Iranian Studies, for MA Media and the Middle East and MA Media in Development. It will be an important option for the new MA Digital Global Cultures.

Method of assessment

5000 word essay, with a core of 3000 words and a further mandatory element, which will be EITHER an additional 2000 words OR a media production (set of still images or 3 minutes video