The artificial is always a copy of a copy, which should be pushed to the point where it changes its nature and is reversed into the simulacrum (the moment of Pop Art).

Gilles Deleuze
"The Simulacrum and Ancient Philosophy"

This the website for Dr. Thomas' course, Thought and Image (HUM 425), which thinks the historical present through the analysis of diverse forms of visual expression–genre cinema (melodrama, science fiction), video games, Pop Art,–together with readings in cultural theory and philosophy. We will study melodrama in order to articulate the limits of gender, race, and class (and introduce students to the concept of mise-en-scéne). We will study modern forms of visualization—ways of seeing and thinking as social practices and relations—exemplified in 19th century visual forms such as architecture, taxidermy, fake mermaids—as well as 20th/21st century forms—women's pictures, video games, music videos. We will think language as a highly regulated way of speaking and seeing: discursive practices that we all enter into and participate in, in a more or less way, and which make our world. We will think spectacle as a ubiquitous form of governing and think control in contrast to modern (19th century) discipline, as a paradigm for the historical present. Through all of this we will ask ourselves: what are the limits imposed by our present social world, and how, after elucidating these limits, can we think about going beyond them?

Image: René Magritte, "The Treachery of Images" (1929) (detail).
Header image: All That Heaven Allows, Douglas Sirk (1955)