2023-2024 / MEDC0003-1

Cultural history of the visual


30h Th

Number of credits

 Master in history (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in performing arts (120 ECTS) (international master)5 crédits 
 Master in communication (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in history of art and archaeology : general (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in modern languages and literatures : general (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in performing arts (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in information and communication (60 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in history (60 ECTS)5 crédits 


Carl Havelange, Lucienne Strivay


Lucienne Strivay

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The course takes the form of a discussion seminar around the question of the image and the visual. All along this year, the questions around "to see / to know" will be discussed. Visual phenomena have long been neglected by social sciences. In fact, visual information appears suspect within a tradition which, in its philosophical and theological bases, had instituted the word as its favoured, if not exclusive, vehicle of truth. Until very recently, only the history of art appeared able to consider the question of the visual. Today, things have changed. History, philosophy, sociology and anthropology are finally confronting the question of the visual and exploring its various dimensions. The notion of "visual culture" sums up this new interest. Every culture and era can be characterised by a specific system of visual perception, production and reception. Where these disciplines combine with intellectual sensitivities, new research paths open up, deeply renewing our understanding of cultures and societies. The course aims to discuss and illustrate the theoretical and methodological challenges of such research. The reference to history does not indicate exclusively giving attention to subjects in the past, but means taking into account, whatever the phenomenon being studied, the historical dimension within which it is necessarily set. As for the idea of culture, this calls for the anthropological skill of generality: a visual subject is never intelligible in isolation of all the other relationships which unite the culture system from which it emanates. Particular attention will be given to the relationships established between text and image. How do images speak? How can we hear words which, by their very nature, appear to escape all language? How can we work with them? This questions deeply underlies any inquiry into the visible. It shows both ambition and the necessary incompleteness, and above all devotes itself to the experience of the visual.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

To acquire a method of analysing and producing a visual while conscious of the choices operated by cultures.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills


Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Recommended or required readings

No syllabus, but pictures and abstract of every lessons will be on line.

A piece of written work and an oral exam (January session).

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Teachers: Lucienne Strivay, Senior researcher, Lecturer 4000 Liège Tel. - Fax Lucienne.Strivay@ulg.ac.be
Carl Havelange, Lecturer, FNRS, Department of historical sciences, 1B, Quai Roosevelt, 4000 Liège Tel. 32 43 66 53 68 Carl.Havelange@ulg.ac.be

Association of one or more MOOCs