AH 331 Syllabus

History of Photography

Danny Lyon, From Daytona to Columbus, 1966
Fall 2017
Monday and Wednesday 4 to 5:15 PM
Instructor: Denise Johnson
Phone: 714.289.3569
Moulton Center 217 A

Office Hours by appointment:
1 to 3:30 PM
1 to 2 PM
1 to 3:30 PM


click here for a printable syllabus



Course Description

AH 331 - History of Photography offers a survey of photography from 1839 to the present. Emphasis will be placed on the relationship of photography to other arts and current critical issues in the field.

Photography is so much a part of our private and public lives, and it plays such an influential role in our environment that we often forget to examine its aesthetics, meanings, and histories. Considering fine art and mass media practices, the class will examine the works of individual practitioners as well as the emergence of technologies, aesthetic directions, markets, and critical theories. During our investigations, a conversational approach will be prioritized during class discussions. Students will be encouraged through assignments and readings to bring a critical eye that is actively engaged in questioning through a shared learning experience.

Objectives & Outcomes
Course Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the course will:
Learn major artists and photographic movements from its invention to the present;
Be able to identify and compare the aesthetic and philosophical characteristics associated with each of the major movements of fine art photography from its invention to the present;
Become familiar with the resources in fine art photography that are available to be directly experienced in Southern California;
Analyze and evaluate the social, political, and technological developments of art photography;
Learn the predominant theoretical ideologies influencing photographic movements and be able to recognize and apply them when looking at photographic works;
and Synthesize strategies in critical theory to write analyses of photographic works.
Art History Program Learning Outcomes
Students will be able to:

Develop the writing competencies used in the discipline of art history;


Locate works of art and visual culture within the context of world art history and articulate the relationship between intended meaning/function and audience response in specific cultural and historical contexts;


Conduct advanced art historical research using the full range of scholarly resources; and


Recognize the theoretical concerns of art history and its allied disciplines and apply specific theoretical perspectives to their research projects.

General Education Learning Outcomes
7AI Artistic Inquiry: students compose critical or creative works that embody or analyze conceptually an artistic form at a baccalaureate/pre-professional level.
7SI Social Inquiry: employs theories of how people frame and analyze social and/or historical phenomena.



Required Textbook

Mary Warner Marien, Photography: A Cultural History (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2015). ISBN 978-0205988945



Recommended Texts
Sylvan Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing About Art, any edition, 10th or 11th preferred (Boston: Pearson Education Inc.). ISBN 978-0205708253
Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1989.
Bolton, Richard, ed. The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography. Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1993.
Rosenblum, Naomi. A History of Women Photographers. New York: Abbeville Press, 2010.
Solnit, Rebecca. River of Shadows: Eadward Muybridge and the Technological Wild West. New York: Penguin Books, 2003.
Sontag, Susan, On Photography. New York: Anchor Books, 1990. ISBN 978-0312420093



Instructional Website
This class will be taught from the instructional website The Slide Projector at, www.theslideprojector.com. Lecture presentations, assignments, and other course materials will be available for you at this site and you will need to access it regularly.



Instructional Strategies
Students will work toward course objectives through: lecture presentations; student reports on readings, active participation in class discussions; in class partner exercises; reading assignments; writing assignments; exams; viewing images, videos, and audio representations of photographic works; and viewing of an off-campus exhibition that will require a commute, and may entail a parking fee, and/or entrance fee.



Major Study Units
Writing with light
New Vision

• Previsualization

• Victorian optical amusements

• Straight photography

• Zone System

• Chemical experiments
• Modernism and the avant-garde
The Family of Man
The Daguerrotype
Healing the Madness
The Americans
The Calotype
• Dada

• Street photography

Wet-Plate Collodion

• Photomontage

Vietnam War
New Images
• Surrealism
The Question of art

• Appropriation

Imaging The Other
• Social reform movements

• Culture Wars

Amateur practices

• Photojournalism

• Identity Politics

• Theory of sacrifices

• FSA and FAP

• Body Politics

• Kodak

• Halftone printing

Death of photography

• Snapshot

• Life Magazine

• Digital vs. analog

Decisive Moment

• Market for photography

• Photo Secession

• Photographer’s Eye
• Camera Work
Group f/64



Methods of Evaluation

Students will be evaluated on the presentation of evidence that they have achieved the course objectives; the frequency and quality of their contributions to in-class discussion; on their ability to make oral and written critical observations about the artists, movements, and concepts presented in the course; on the quality of the writing they present in written assignments; and on their ability to demonstrate growth in their understanding and application of the history and theory of photographic works from its invention to the present.

There are 500 points possible, which will be earned through the following components:

Class Participation - 10%

Students will earn up to 50 participation points through the following activities:

  • Actively and consistently contributing to in-class discussions and applying theoretical ideas to works to earn up to 15 participation points.
  • Voluntarily reporting on assigned readings during class to earn up to 10 participation points through meaningful contributions to multiple conversations over the semester.
  • and Attending one lecture in the Visual Thinker Lecture Series (two contemporary artist lectures, and one Bensussen lecture) and submitting a VTLS Report worth 25 points. Please be reminded that Art and Art History majors are required by the department to attend all Visual Thinker Lectures and that the Art 370 assignment requires different documentation.

Writing Assignments 45%

Students will earn up to 50 points each through the following assignments written in Chicago Manual of Style (no bibliography) that reflect skilled academic research techniques and include:
• Analysis of work on view at relevant art venue, called the “Museum Analysis”;
• And Three critical essays including skilled analysis of specific photographic works in response to assigned readings;

Additionally, on at least one occasion, students will form small groups to collaboratively write a short essay responses to writing prompts given during class. This essay may earn 25 points for all participating students and cannot be made up.

Exams 30%

Students will take two exams worth 75 points each on the course Blackboard page at https://blackboard.chapman.edu. Due to the nature of online testing, and the multi-day duration offered to submit, exams may not be made up. Please use the class schedule to plan accordingly.


Final Presentation 10%

During our scheduled final exam period, each student will be asked to give an in-class presentation on a photograph that is of significance to you, and discuss the image up to ten minutes.


In preparation, each student will be asked to submit a presentation plan that identifies the photograph you’ll be speaking about, a methodology for your analysis, and citations for your sources worth 20 points. The presentation itself will be worth a maximum of 30 points.


Extra Credit

Students are limited to earning a maximum of 25 points, 5% of the total points possible (500), in extra credit points during the semester. Any points earned above this cap will NOT be applied to the final grade.



Points will be earned on writing assignments through committed consideration of the material, demonstration of learned concepts and language, and evidence of critical thinking. In addition to the individual requirements, each writing assignment will earn points based on rigorous analysis through the skilled application of the art historical methodologies, as well as pointed and thoughtful responses to the questions proposed.
100 to 97%
500 - 483 points

Writing demonstrates excellence in both articulation and critical thinking. Art historical methodologies are used thoughtfuly and with exceptional skill. All questions are answered thoroughly, and disussion points carry beyond basic responses with sophistication. Credible academic sources were employed to support the author's positions, and Chicago Manual of Style citation rules were carefully followed. The written assignment leaves little to no room for improvement, and demonstrates committed interest in the discipline.

A -
96 to 90%
482 - 448 points
B +
89 to 87%
447 - 433 points

Writing demonstrates clear focus and an above average consideration of the subject matter. While all questions have been answered, there is room for improvement in carrying the analysis and discussion beyond a basic response. The work exhibits potential for excellence however, a clearer application and understanding of the art historical methodologies is needed. Author has met the requirements for research and citations, but the stated positions could be significantly served by additional research.

86 to 84%
432 - 418 points
B -
83 to 80%
417 - 398 points
C +
79 to 77%
397 - 383 points

Most of the material is understood, but the focus is not entirely clear, and analysis is cursory. Question responses could be more fully realized, and the material, more thoroughly examined. Citation issues are present, little research was executed in support of the author's positions, and/or sources are not credible or academic. There are issues with language that make the writing somewhat difficult to understand.

76 to 74%
382 - 368 points
C -
73 to 70%
367 - 348 points
D +
69 to 67%
347 - 333 points

Writing demonstrates little understanding or connection with the material and is flawed in content and form. Question responses do not provide evidence of critical thinking. Citation issues are present, no research was executed in support of the author's positions, and/or sources are not credible or academic. There are issues with language that make the writing very difficult to understand.

66 - 64%
332 - 318 points
D -
63 - 60%
317 - 298 points
< 59%
297 - 0

Work fails to meet any requirements satisfactorily.



Writing is incomplete but shows potential. Student is offered one additional class day to revise, add to, and re-submit the assignment.



Instructor Policies
Commitment to the Conversation

Conversation and debate will be central to the learning experience this semester. Art historians do not work in secluded spaces that are entirely disconnected from the world around them. Given the importance of engagement, students will be expected to fully commit to in-class dialogues and will agree to refrain from texting, emailing, and completing out-of-class assignments during lecture. Laptop, tablet, and smart phone use will only be permitted when the devices are being used for the purpose of understanding AH 331 material. Seriously!!! Students found to be using laptops and tablets during class for activities other than those related to our undertaking may be asked to leave class until their full attention can be directed to our course.


Regular attendance is mandatory. You are permitted two unexcused absence without damage to your grade. More than two missed classes will potentially lower your grade, and missing four or more classes will put you at risk of failing the class.

Please also be punctual! Students arriving 15 or more minutes after class begins should expect to be marked absent for the entire class session.

Respect is Key
We may consider provocative, challenging, even vulgar subject matter in this class. It is assumed that each of us undertakes this learning endeavor with honorable intention and a commitment to understanding diverse perspectives and histories. When this is difficult, we agree to keep an open mind and to respect all views and identities, even those with which we do not agree. While engaging in class activities, we agree to refrain from using derogatory, inflammatory, or otherwise disrespectful language. We do such, fully committed to the principles of academic freedom, holding “that censorship is always suspect, that intimidation is always repugnant, and that attempts to discourage constitutionally protected expression are antithetical to the central focus of the university's mission: education and discovery of new knowledge,” and that these principles are “accompanied by a corresponding principle of responsibility.” (from the Chapman University Faculty Manual, 2016)

Please submit coursework that is due on Blackboard by the beginning of class whether you will be in attendance or absent.

Late Assignments
You may submit one assignment, one class day late. The late assignment will not be marked down, however any assignments turned in more than one class late, or in addition to the one accepted assignment, will only receive credit at the discretion of the instructor.



Chapman University Policies
Academic Integrity Policy
Chapman University is a community of scholars which emphasizes the mutual responsibility of all members to seek knowledge honestly and in good faith. Students are responsible for doing their own work, and for submitting coursework completed this semester, for this class. Academic dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated anywhere in the university. Academic dishonesty of any kind will be subject to sanction by the instructor/administrator and referral to the university's Academic Integrity Committee, which may impose additional sanctions up to and including expulsion. Please see the full description of Chapman University's policy on Academic Integrity at www.chapman.edu/academics/academic-integrity/index.aspx
Students with Disabilities
In compliance with ADA guidelines, students who have any condition, either permanent or temporary, that might affect their ability to perform in this class are encouraged to inform the instructor at the beginning of the term. Upon recommendation of the Center for Academic Success, adaptations of teaching methods, class materials, including text and reading materials or testing may be made as needed to provide for equitable participation.
Equity and Diversity Policy

Chapman University is committed to ensuring equality and valuing diversity. Students and professors are reminded to show respect at all times as outlined in Chapman’s Harassment and Discrimination Policy: at www.chapman.edu/faculty-staff/human-resources/eoo.aspx. Any violations of this policy should be discussed with the professor, the Dean of Students and/or otherwise reported in accordance with this policy.



Writing Center
All Chapman students are welcome to meet with Writing Center tutors, who can help you with any part of the writing process, from understanding the assignment and finding a significant topic to editing your final drafts. The Writing Center is located in DeMille Hall 130. To guarantee time with a tutor, call (714) 997-6828 or email tutor@chapman.edu to schedule an appointment.
Food Pantry
Students in need of access to the food pantry should contact Sherri Maeda-Akau in the Office of Residence Life and First Year Experience at maeda@chapman.edu.
Sexual Assault

If you have been sexually assaulted, make sure you are in safe place. Call 911 in an emergency, Chapman University Public Safety at (714)997-6721 and, Chapman University ’s Sexual Assault Information Line at (714) 744-7000. Contact Orange PD at (714) 744-7444.

Student Psychological Counseling
If you are in need of help or support immediately you can contact:
CU Student Psychological Counseling - (714) 997-6778
Suicide Prevention Hotline - (800) 273-8255
Drug and Alcohol Abuse Hotline - (800) 662-HELP
National AIDS/STD Info Hotline - (800) 458-5231



Class Schedule and Required Reading
This is a tentative schedule that may change. Assignment directions and due dates will be posted on The Slide Projector. Updates will be announced in class, on lecture presentations, and modified on the Syllabus page of The Slide Projector.
Discussion Topic
Assignment & Reading Due
August 28
August 30
Before Photography
Introduction - page 7
September 4
Labor Day
September 6
The Mirror with a Memory
Pages 8 - 16
The Daguerreotype
September 11
Photography's Re-Invention
Pages 16 - 29 & 56 - 73
September 13
The Expanding Domain
Pages 30 - 41 & 43 - 55
September 18
New Subjects
Essay 1 Due
September 20
Imagining the West
Pages 42 , 96 - 140 & 222 - 227
September 25
Question of Art
Pages 74 - 95
September 27
Amateur Visions
October 2
Photographing The Other
Pages 140 - 159, 214 - 222
October 4
Pages 160 - 179 & 182 - 194
October 9
Studies in Motion
Pages 180 - 181, 194 - 199, & 208 - 214
October 11
New Vision
Pages 230 - 240 & 260 - 266
October 16
Social Documentary
Midterm Exam Due
October 18
Healing the Madness
Pages 200 - 208, 228 - 229, 240 - 259
October 23
Between Art & Documentary
Essay 2 Due
October 25
The Decisive Moment
Pages 266 - 335
October 30
Group f/64
November 1
The Family of Man?
Pages 336 - 347
November 6
The Americans
Museum Analysis Due
November 8
Snapshot Aesthetic
Pages 348 - 391
November 13
Through the Lens of Culture
Presentation Plan Due
November 15
New Topographics
November 20
Thanksgiving Recess
November 22
November 27
Culture Wars
Essay 3 Due
November 29
The Simulacra
Pages 392 - 491
December 4
Digital Ciphers
Chapter 14
December 6
The Death of Photography?
Final Exam Due
December 11
Final Exam Presentation 4:15 to 6:45 PM



Important Dates
Late Registration
The last day to add courses is Friday, September 8.
Drop Deadline
Students wishing to drop the course without record must do so by Friday, September 8. The last day to withdraw from a course, or change grading option to P/NP is Friday, November 3.
Final Exam
The in-class final exam for this course is mandatory, and will not be offered at an alternative date, except under extenuating circumstances. The instructor understands that the holidays and holiday travel come with much urgency and pressure. Nonetheless, the hours set aside for the final exam are a part of your earned credit and as such, are an important component of your grade. Our final exam will be held on Monday, December 11 from 4:15 to 6:45 PM.
Grades must be submitted by the instructor by January 1.