Summer School 5-12 August 2014: Visual Media and Global Politics

News –18 June 2014

​The Discipline of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Helsinki offers a course in Visual Media and Global Politics in cooperation with the The Helsinki Summer School. The course is a part of the Master's Degree Programme in Media and Global Communication. It equals 5 ECTS and will be taught by Rune Saugmann Andersen, University of Copenhagen.

Course description

 The course is an introduction to semiotic, discursive and actor-network-based models of analyzing images and discussing how images become able to participate effectively in the political processes surrounding security, war and conflict. The course focus is on three sites where the connections between visual images and global politics are negotiated:

 1) What is in the image itself: visual semiotic and post-structural theories of understanding visuality and images,

2) How the image travels, what is done to it and what it does: theories of remediation, media semiotics, actor network theory, and

3) How images become part of politics and which roles they play. Are they part of governing, resisting security, both? Introduction to perspectives on international politics and the role of visual media in both visual culture and international relations.


Learning objectives

 This course attempts to give students the analytical apparatus to critically analyse the role played by visual media in contemporary conflict, security politics and resistance to such politics. The course tackles theories by looking at a specific case in every class, making the students familiar with how the theories operate in relation to key visual moments in recent history (e.g. the Zapruder video, Huynh Cong Ut's Vietnam photo, Carter's Somalia photo, the Al-Durrah video, 1991 gulf war video, Sept. 11 images, Al-Qaeda videos, Abu Ghraib photographs, 2009–2011 protest videos, WikiLeaks helicopter video, (lack of) images from Bin Laden killing (+Hillary), Syria). This enables the students to discuss not only how different theories can give different readings of the ways in which images work in politics, but it also allows us to dive into both the historical differences and nuances such as

 - photos vs. tv images vs. videos

- art photography vs. photojournalism

- mass mediation vs. user-driven mediation.

 For more information about the course and registration please see: