Why study Critical Visions?

The undergraduate critical visions certificate is a joint endeavor between faculty from the UC College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) and the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). The cross-college curriculum will teach students how to effectively combine critical theory and social analysis with art, media and design practice and has two primary goals: (1) Increase students' understanding of what is at stake in how we see, including the social and political ramifications of advertising, art, media, popular culture and science, among other dominant and subversive visual forms and visualizing practices. (2) Develop new artistic, media or design forms and practices that will intervene in dominant ways of seeing and explaining the world.

Through core classes and approved electives, students will critically examine the relationships among power, image and imagination; situate and theorize vision alongside other modes of perception; and historically and cross-culturally explore a range of forms of seeing. Through studio and production courses they will learn to reflexively produce and rethink the ontology and epistemology of vision. More than just promoting a sophisticated, academic visual literacy, the certificate will enable students to actively engage, critique and reinterpret the visual objects and forms they encounter in their everyday lives.

In addition to core courses in anthropology and fine art, students will enroll in at least one studio course at or above the 2000-level from DAAP and between nine and twelve units of electives from across the two colleges. After fulfilling these requirements students will enroll in critical visions, where they will develop and execute independent projects organized around a critique of a dominant way of seeing. The goal of these projects, which will be sponsored by two core faculty members from opposite colleges, is to wed together the three core components of the certificate: critical theory, social analysis and art, media, or design practice. Ultimately, we envision having a student-edited art/media/design and theory journal, annual exhibition or virtual venue to display and circulate student projects, stimulating discussion and broad university engagement with their work.

Student Learning Objectives

  1. Identify and describe the social and political ramifications of both dominant and subversive visual forms and visualizing practices such as advertising, art, media, popular culture and science, highlighting the relationship among image, imagination and power.
  2. Using methods and theories from critical theory and social analysis, situate and theorize vision alongside other modes of perception, recognizing its historical, social and cultural contingency.
  3. Using art, media, or design practice, gain a deeper understanding of how visual forms are produced while also becoming more reflexive and thoughtful in producing them.
  4. Develop new artistic, media, or design forms that effectively combine critical theory, social analysis and creative practice to intervene in dominant ways of seeing and explaining the world.

Admission Requirements

Students already pursuing a degree in any college at UC can add the certificate to their program. Be sure to submit a declaration of the certificate program using our online form.

In addition, you must meet with the program director so that they are aware that you are pursuing the certificate and can advise you appropriately. Do this early enough to avoid delay in obtaining your certificate.

Students not currently pursuing a degree may declare the certificate after establishing non-matriculated status.

Contact the program co-chairs, Stephanie Sadre-Orafai (sadreose@ucmail.uc.edu) from the Anthropology Department in Arts and Sciences or Jordan Tate (Jordan.Tate@uc.edu) from School of Art in DAAP.  Or you may contact any of the following core faculty:

A&S: Todd Herzog, German Studies; Jenny Wohlfarth, Journalism

DAAP:  Katie Parker, School of Art; Amanda Curreri, School of Art

Students in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) enjoy many benefits afforded through study at a research-intensive institution ranked among the nation's top 25 public research universities. UC's urban, Tristate location offers exciting opportunities for global education, research and service learning, while its student-centered focus includes an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, a nationally recognized Center for Exploratory Studies and a highly successful First Year Experience program that teaches critical skills for first-year students and provides connections with important campus resources.

Make sure that you have declared the certificate program online. Next, make sure that the certificate program director is aware of when you are finishing the program. If you are pursuing another bachelor's degree, then your certificate will be reviewed at the time that you submit your separate degree application.

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Contact Information

Stephanie Sadre-Orafai
448 Braunstein Hall
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0380
(513) 556-3569

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Program Code: 15CRT-CVSN15-C2