The Society of Spectacle: Image as Power in Art, Politics, and Technology (Honors Course)

The American College of Greece

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The Society of Spectacle: Image as Power in Art, Politics, and Technology (Honors Course)

  • Host University

    The American College of Greece

  • Location

    Athens, Greece

  • Area of Study

    Media Studies, Sociology, Studio Art

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    WP 1010 Introduction to Academic Writing

    WP 1111 Integrated Academic Writing and Ethics

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • US Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    An interdisciplinary study of how images in art and media construct political and social ideologies and shape identities in modernity.


    Images play a fundamental role in representing, imagining and even constructing the world, as well as our basic sense of social identities. Technologies of power put into action with the means of images shape political, technological and sociological discourses. From early controversies over the use of images, motivated by political and religious ideologies, to the modern society of spectacle and the use of image-based social media, images inform our identity, disposition and desires. The course will map the cultural, aesthetic, political and technological contexts which have shaped image-related notions of power and selfhood across history, thus, leading to contemporary Western culture. The course is structured on a series of interrelated themed sections, aiming to shed light on issues of image as power and their cultural, political, and philosophical connotations.

    LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of the course, students will be able to

    1. Examine a variety of perspectives on the power of images through critical reading of texts from art history, cultural visual studies, media studies, as well as literature, film and music;

    2. Relate different cultural views and notions of the image in the context of identity construction, both individual and collective;

    3. Critically discuss the ways in which image as power has shaped artistic expression;

    4. Demonstrate understanding of the ethical implications and dilemmas associated with image as power.


    In congruence with the teaching and learning strategy of the college, the following tools are used:

    • Textual analysis, interpretation of visual materials, class discussion, workshop-style pair work and group work during class meetings;
    • Active student-centered teaching approach in the presentation of course material to engage learners;
    • Critical-thinking exercises and learning activities designed to help students acquire confidence and benefit from independent study;
    • Student presentations of learning material to encourage involvement in the learning process;
    • Co-curricular activities, ranging from collaboration with student clubs and societies to debates and event organizing, to encourage students’ creative engagement with the material;
    • Extensive instructor feedback on assignments and activities;
    • Individualized assistance during office hours for further discussion of lecture material, additional reading, and assignments;
    • Additional print and audiovisual educational material posted on the Blackboard course template;
    • Other relevant educational material placed on reserve in the library.

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