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Release: Immediate

UI series focuses on new field of study--'Visual Culture'

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Several humanities departments at the University of Iowa have teamed up to sponsor a series of events focusing on an emerging field of academic study known as "visual culture."

Still in its infancy, the study of visual culture draws from many disciplines, including art history, English, comparative literature, anthropology, history and film, and uses them to analyze how ideas are conveyed and culture is created through visual images.

The new field, which had its beginnings in the 1980s, is controversial among some U.S. scholars because of its multidisciplinary nature. However, those who support it say it is a natural and inevitable change, reflecting the way academia needs to think about culture in our television and image-saturated society.

"Cinema is a focus for visual cultural studies because it seems to look forward to new technologies and functions of representation, while it looks back to the more traditional aesthetics of oil painting," said Dudley Andrew, professor of film studies and director of the UI Institute for Cinema and Culture, a main sponsor of the series.

The series of events, called "The Visual Turn" includes film showings and lectures, all of which will be in the Becker Communication Studies Building, Room 101. All foreign films will be shown in the original language with English subtitles.

The schedule is as follows:

- Thursday, April 3 -- 8 p.m., lecture, "The Realities of the Studio or the Vexations of Art," by Svetlana Alpers, professor of art history at the University of California at Berkeley and expert in 17th-century Dutch painting

- Thursday, April 10 -- 7 p.m., showing of 1996 film, "Andrei Rublev," Russia

- Thursday, April 17 -- 7 p.m., showing of 1964 film, "The Gospel According to Matthew," Italy

- Thursday, April 24 -- 7 p.m. showing of 1992 film by Jane Campion, "The Piano," New Zealand

- Thursday, May 1 -- 7 p.m., showing of 1984 film, "Yellow Earth," China

The series will culminate with an international symposium, "The Future of Image Studies," during the weekend of April 4, and a university symposium, "Comparative Arts" on April 25 - 26. The university symposium will include a keynote lecture by City University of New York Art History Professor Carol Armstrong, who will speak on the topic, "Photographing Literature: Julia Margaret Cameron's Excerpts from Tennyson."

"The Visual Turn" is sponsored by the UI Institute for Cinema and Culture, the Cultural Affairs Committee, the School of Art and Art History, the department of English, the Program in Comparative Literature and the Ida Beam Endowment.

For further information about any of the above events, contact the Institute at (319)335-1348.