VCM3000EN - Visual Culture in a Global Society

Course description

The fundamental premise of visual culture in global society is reciprocal, in that it creates meaning through global flows and that the very foundations of global capital, global culture, and global media are based on the dynamics of visuality, and in the power systems it both affirms and challenges. In this course we use a visual perspective to analyze major historical themes: nationalism, colonialism, cultural imperialism, racial and cultural difference and similarities in, society and religion. Students will focus on the inter-relationship of visual culture with the development and process of globalization, which forces similarity, and students will examine the role and impact of global cultural flows.

How this course benefits students

Students will analyze how visual studies intersect with the notion of "mediasphere:" in mediology is the study of media systems as systems in the age of integration, where social media, images, signs and symbols, used in television, film and video, as well as web and web-based devices, and for advertising, fine art and architecture, are all elements of cultural programming, using the impact of visualization. The challenges of programming the path to salvation in an overwhelmingly secular environment will be considered.

Why this course is important

Visual culture is basic to human existence. As we advance we develop ways to submerge visualization in the elevation of printed material since the print evolution. The expansion of education elevated the use of language, though most often we still need a visual to clarify the meaning in text and in language. Photographs, and films reflect our lives back to us. The power to enable us to see ourselves is not in language. It is in visual communication.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Visual Communication
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

There is challenge in the fact that people are both similar to and different from each other. Communication is essential to cultural activity since communication allows sharing. Although people are similar and interdependent, culture and communication are not identical. Culture is the larger term, which involves all of the activities of people within the created order, while communication is an essential activity deeply embedded in the process of developing cultural activity. (Ayee, 2007). Through programming we experience the lives, hopes and dreams of others. In the mission of God visual programming is a powerful tool.

Missionally driven

Students who plan international interactions need an understanding of the complexities of racial, and ethnic realities, and of conflict that have emerged in a variety of societies in recent years. Media plays a big role in representation of people, their world, and the issues they face. The virtual reality created in media is most often far from the reality one finds on the ground, and often media misrepresentations clouds the expatriate view and creates a barrier to communication and understanding. Cross-cultural interaction and experience enable us to see what other cultures can teach us about God’s world.

Contextually informed

Prior to the start of a sermon, worshipers experience a continuous graphic loop on huge screens sharing songs and information about services and church information. A short video clip or graphic montage can introduce the theme of the day’s worship in a kind of visual prelude. On-screen graphics can enhance a sermon illustration or point. For example, an illustration about sailing might include a graphic of a sailboat displayed briefly on the screen. Each message or series of messages might have a specific graphic that illustrates the theme. A change in color or focus can communicate a change in tone or indicate transformation in response to the Scripture’s message. Dramatic visual communication captures attention, emotion and transports viewers into the message.

Interculturally focused

Visual culture is man’s first information transference mechanism, and remains as a mainstay of indigenous cultures. So we might say that today's shift to focus on visual communication is really a return to visual messaging, using different media. There is no doubt that there are connections between traditional, pre-literate and modern post-literate visualizations. Text-based communication is post-literate. It exploded and spiraled with the invention of the printing press. The mass production of books, newspapers, magazines, and advertising etc., followed, and expanded text-based literacy, mass communication and the expansion of universal education. New technologies advance post-literate semiotics.

Practically minded

When we travel the world we notice that in airports and other international locations visuals take the place of words. This is known as information design and this mode of communication is used whenever and wherever text will not suffice, such as in public and road signs. Visual culture is universal, conceptual, intuitive and internationally understood and is a feature that enhances missional cultural ministry skills.

Experientially transformed

As infants our experiences start with the programming of visual culture. We see a picture and then we learn the word that is associated with the image, to teach language culture. This shows that in a real world setting visual culture is more fundamental than the more advanced and divisive linguistic culture. Going back to visual communication, when necessary aids in teaching and in learning ideas that are foundational to life.