LSO445 - The Image Age

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-09-24 01:12:07.139
Last review date 2018-11-07 15:07:08.957

Subject Title
The Image Age

Subject Description
We negotiate the world through visual culture whether or not we are sighted or have low vision that requires adaptive or assistive technologies, and whether or not we live in urban spaces saturated with surfaces covered in advertisements and signs or remote places in which we depend on our screens to connect with "the world." The term "visual culture" encompasses many media forms ranging from fine art to film and television and from advertising to visual data in fields such as the sciences, law, and medicine. In this class we will examine what it means to study these diverse forms together. We will also discuss how we attach meaning to these visuals and how they impact our culture and society.

Credit Status
One upper level Liberal Studies Option (LSO) for Seneca degree students.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the diverse ways in which we make meaning from the multitude of visual images that surround us.
  2. Compare and contrast the writings of a variety of visual and cultural theorists including Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Antonio Gramsci, Stuart Hall and Walter Benjamin.
  3. Analyze the concept of realism in art from Egyptian art to digital image culture.
  4. Discuss the theories of ideology and semiotics as tools for understanding the strategies used in advertising images.
  5. Understand the role that images play in the concept of global popular culture and the impact that globalization has had on art production and exhibition.

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Apply a systematic approach to solve problems.

Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Show respect for diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.

Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Academic Integrity
Seneca upholds a learning community that values academic integrity, honesty, fairness, trust, respect, responsibility and courage. These values enhance Seneca's commitment to deliver high-quality education and teaching excellence, while supporting a positive learning environment. Ensure that you are aware of Seneca's Academic Integrity Policy which can be found at: Review section 2 of the policy for details regarding approaches to supporting integrity. Section 2.3 and Appendix B of the policy describe various sanctions that can be applied, if there is suspected academic misconduct (e.g., contract cheating, cheating, falsification, impersonation or plagiarism).

Please visit the Academic Integrity website to understand and learn more about how to prepare and submit work so that it supports academic integrity, and to avoid academic misconduct.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Accessibility Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

ENG106 or equivalent.

Topic Outline

Introduction to Visual Culture
Images, Power and Politics
Viewers Make Meaning
Modernity: Spectatorship, Power and Knowledge
Visual Technologies, Image Reproduction and the Copy
Media in Everyday Life
Advertising, Consumer Cultures and Desire
Postmodernism, Indie Media and Popular Culture
Scientific Looking, Looking at Science
The Global Flow of Communication

Mode of Instruction
Your professor will use a variety of appropriate teaching modes and techniques, such as the following:  interactive seminars, workshops, discussions, online learning, and lectures.

Prescribed Texts

Sturken, M. and Cartwright, L. Practices of Looking. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Reference Material

All students are required to use the following Research Guide for their assignments:
Seneca Libraries MLA Citation Guide (MLA 8th Edition) available at
Note:  Electronic dictionaries are not permitted during in-class writing or exams.

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

To be successful in this course, you must complete all course work as specified and achieve an overall grade of 50% or higher. For further information on evaluation and academic standing, see a copy of the Academic Policy available at Seneca registration offices.

Term work:
All term work assignments must be completed prior to the time of the final exam or last class.  Students must contact faculty in advance of the assignment due date to discuss the possibility of an extension.  Late assignments may be subject to the awarding of a penalty resulting in a lower grade assigned. Make-up opportunities for assignments must also be made in advance of the scheduled due date.  If an assignment is missed due to class absence, official documentation must be submitted to the faculty member on or before the next scheduled class. Make-up opportunities may not apply to all graded assignments.

Participation, quizzes 40%
Assignment(s) 30%
Comprehensive Research Essay 30%
Total  100%

Student Success:

Please come prepared to participate in class. Make sure you bring your course text to each class, participate in class discussions, hand in any assigned work on time and attend each and every class. Following these suggestions will increase your chances of success.

Approved by: Fiona Bain-greenwood