Module title: Contemporary Debates in Photography Theory and Practice: A Global Historic Perspective

SCQF level: 11:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: DES11151
Module leader: Lei Cox
School School of Arts and Creative Industries
Subject area group: Design Photography and Advertising

There are no pre-requisites for this module to be added

2019/0, Trimester 1, FACE-TO-FACE,
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: FACE-TO-FACE
Location of delivery: MERCHISTON
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Sharon Nairn
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
This module affords students with the historical and theoretical context to reflect critically upon the global contemporary photography practices and their conceptual and aesthetic properties (LO1 and LO2). Teaching and learning strategies ranging from lectures, image and text-based seminars, workshops and student-led presentations, gallery/library study days, teamwork for peer learning, and research notebooks, to engage students in active participation and enhance inquiry-based learning and research. (LO3) Lectures will explore key themes through illustrated presentations, visual and contextual analyses. These will be supported by text and/or image seminars, screenings, seminar discussion, individual and group tutorials. Visits to exhibitions and festivals in museums and galleries and hands-on sessions in archives will enable students to closely study different modes of display and contexts of viewing (LO4).

Participation in the Undergraduate VIP lecture series is advised.

Formative Assessment:
Formative feedback is provided throughout the module in tutorials, group discussions and presentations. Formative assessment will take place informally at midway points during scheduled learning activities. This will help to direct your learning prior to submission of work for summative assessment.

Summative Assessment:
There will be one summative assessment (LOs 1,2,3,4) due in in week 14, of a case study, and / or literature review of particular topic discussed in the module (1,500-2,000 words) and a
3,000 word essay developed from above case study/literature review.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Seminar 24
Face To Face Lecture 12
Independent Learning Guided independent study 164
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Essay 50 1,2,3 14/15 , WORDS= 3000
Report 50 1,4 14/15 , WORDS= 2000
Component 1 subtotal: 100
Component 2 subtotal: 0
Module subtotal: 100

Description of module content:

This module approaches photography as a set of problems and concepts, as a modality of thinking and a way of producing new models of visibility. It takes a focused look at critical and theoretical debates in contemporary photographic practices from the global historical perspective of the medium. This module will equally sources traditional references as well as festivals and exhibitions (catalogues) that are significant to the medium historical and theoretical development. The discussion on the technical and conceptual development of photography before and after the WWII will include photography practices in the colonies and its postcolonial reading: from revisiting 19th century calotype and carte de visite to colonial lens in the imperial project; from modernist dogma and new documentary to Pushpamala N and the postcolonial archive; from Robert Frank and Diane Arbus to Daido Moriyama and Seydou Keïta. The survey of the contemporary practice is a comparative analysis of the medium global development: from Nobuyashi Araki and Ragu Rhai to Robert Adam and Bern and Hilla Bechers, from Dusseldorf School of photography to the studio portrait tradition in South Asia. Lastly, the module will cross-reference the non-western display in Euro-America photography institutions with the burgeoning of international photography festivals in Asia such as Singapore International Photography Festival and Dhaka’s Chobi Mela and how they influence the contemporary debates in photographic practice.

Learning Outcomes for module:

LO1: Understand and engage in contemporary debate in photography practices within and beyond Europe and North America.
LO2: Understand the relevant critical and contemporary debates informing photographic practices and vice versa.
LO3: Critically analyse the interconnection between photographic practices and their global historical and theoretical contexts.
LO4: Expand research skills and articulate knowledge.

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:

Please contact your Module Leader for details
Click here to view the LibrarySearch.