Prof. K.P. Jayasankar andProf. Anjali Monteiro

(Semester I, 2 credits, 30hrs.)

The course critically explores visual images and media narratives, to understand how they are constructed in and through relationships of power and resistance. It would enable the students to appreciate the many complex layers and codes involved in image making and representation. It would also facilitate a critical engagement with contemporary visual culture in India.

Session 1 to 4: Critique of transmission approach to media and introduction to semiology

Essential Readings:

1.1A.A. Berger, Chap 1: Semiology in Media Analysis Techniques, Sage, 1982

1.2Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright, Chap 1: Practices of Looking- Image, Power and Politics in Practices of Looking, Oxford, 2001

1.3Stuart Hall, Encoding: Decoding in Hall, S. et al, (eds) Culture, Media, Language, Hutchinson, 1986

1.4Daniel Chandler, Semiotics for Beginners:

Recommended Readings:

1.5A.A. Berger, Chap 1, The Science of Signs, in The Objects of Affection- Semiotics and Consumer Culture, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010

1.6Gillian Rose, Chapter 5, Semiology, Visual Methodologies, Sage 2007

Visual Texts:

Monteiro and Jayasankar, Identity: The Construction of Selfhood, 21 mins, 1994

Monteiro and Jayasankar, Naata, 45 mins, 2003

Ranjini Majumdar and Shikha Jhingan, The Power of the Image series: The Villain in Melodrama, 30 mins, 1997

Session 5:Image/Myth/Consumer Culture

Essential Readings:

5.1Roland Barthes, Myth Today, in Mythologies, Hill and Wang, 1972

5.2Roland Barthes, Rhetoric of the Image in Jessica Evans andStuart Hall (eds) Visual Culture- The Reader, Open University 1999

5.3Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright, Chapter 6, Consumer Culture and the Manufacturing of Desire in Practices of Looking, Oxford, 2001

Recommended Readings:

5.4A.A. Berger, Chapter 4, Brands and Identity, in The Objects of Affection- Semiotics and Consumer Culture, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010

Visual Texts:

Nishta Jain, City of Photos, 60 mins, 2005

Session 6: Ways of Seeing and the Practice of Art

Essential Readings:

6.1John Berger, Chapter 1 in Ways of Seeing, Penguin, 1972

6.2John Berger, Chapter 5 in Ways of Seeing, Penguin, 1972

6.3Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,

Visual Texts

(John Berger)

(John Berger)

Session 7: Gender and Advertising

Essential Readings:

7.2Berger, John, Chapter 3 in Ways of Seeing, op cit
7.3Monteiro, A. and K.P. Jayasankar, One Black Coffee: The Performance of Female Agency in Television Commercials, in Phadke Shilpa and Brinda Bose (eds) Explode Softly, Seagull, forthcoming

7.4Sabeena Gadihoke : Selling Soap and Stardom: The Story of Lux

7.5Abigail McGowan: Modernity at Home: Leisure, Autonomy and the New Woman in India

Visual Texts:

Sut Jhally, Slim Hopes, 30 mins, 1995

Sut Jhally, The Codes of Gender, 46 mins, 2009

Sarah Zelinski et al, Representations of Gender in Advertising, 2013

Monteiro and Jayasankar, Our Family, 56 mins, 2007

Session 8 and 9: Art, Craft and 'Tradition'

Essential Readings:

8.1Jayasankar, KP, Warlis: Myth and Reality, International Gallerie, Vol.I, 2001

8.2Paul Greenough, Nation, Economy and Tradition Displayed, in Carol Breckenridge (ed) Consuming Modernity, University of Minnesota Press, 1995

8.2aSumathi Ramaswamy: Artful Mapping in Bazaar India

8.3Tapati Guha Thakurtha, From Spectacle to Art- The Changing Aesthetics of Durga Puja in Contemporary Calcutta, in Art India, Vol. 1X, Issue iii, Quarter iii, 2004 (Recommended)

8.4James Clifford, On Collecting Art and Culture, in Simon During (ed) The Cultural Studies Reader, Routledge (Recommended)

8.5Christopher Pinney, The Indian Work of Art in the Age

of Mechanical Reproduction, in Media worlds : anthropology on new terrain / edited by Faye D. Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Brian Larkin, University of California Press 2002

Visual Texts:

Monteiro and Jayasankar, Kahankar: Ahankar, 38 mins, 1995

Nina Sabnani, Baat Wahi Hai, 14 mins, 2011

Nina Sabnani, The Stitches Speak, 12 mins, 2009

Mani Kaul, Mati Manas,92 mins,1985

Session 10 to 12: Image and Subjectivity- An Introduction to Lacan and Screen Theory

Essential Readings:

10.1Laura Mulvey, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema in Evans op cit

10.2Sturken, M et al, Spectatorship, Power and Knowledge, in Practices of Looking, op cit

10.3 Darian Leader and Judy Groves, Introducing Lacan, Icon Books 2000

10.4Gillian Rose, Chapter 6, Psychoanalysis, Visual Methodologies, Sage 2007

10.5 , (on Althusser, Marx etc.)

10.6 (on Lacan)

Visual Texts:

Ranjini Majumdar and Shikha Jhingan, The Power of the Image series: Whatever Happened to the Vamp, 30 mins, 1997

Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window, 112 mins, 1954

Pinchas Perry, When Nietzsche Wept, 104 mins, 2007

Session 13-15: Image and Power (July 3, 8 -4)

Essential Readings:

13.1Michel Foucault, Panopticism in Evans op cit

13.3John Tagg, Evidence, Truth and Order: A means of surveillance in Evans op cit

13.4 Michel Foucault, Heterotopias in Of Other Spaces, 1967

13.5 Michel Foucault, The Subject and Power

Recommended Readings:


13. 7Foucault, Las Meninas

Visual Texts: Bent Hamer, Kitchen Stories, 95 mins, 2003

F. Henckel von Donnersmarck, The Lives of Others, 137 mins, 2006

Avinash Deshpande, The Great Indian School Show

Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar, YCP 1997, 42 mins, 1997


Assignment I (20%, group assignment):
Each group takes up a product (suggested products bikes, aerated drinks, cell phones and cosmetics for the skin -including creams of all kinds)- to be decided by the group. Each member of the group takes up one ad for analysis. Based on this, the group as a whole also comments on how the product is sold, how the consumer is addressed, what notions are reproduced in the process etc. (individual write up around 500 words: 10 marks and class presentation: 10 marks.)

Assignment II (30 %)

Write an illustrated essay of any one of the following spaces/texts.You could draw on the work of Foucault, Althusser, Barthes and others towards a critical understanding. Some of the spaces you could explore are:

  1. An public service advertising campaign
  2. A shopping mall
  3. A shrine
  4. An amusement park
  5. Festival Displays (e.g. Ganesh pandals)
  6. or any other, in consultation with the teachers

Class Test: 30%

Class Participation/Written Responses to readings: 20%