This course explores the ever-evolving concept of identity as a cultural arena reflecting collective attitudes, lifestyles, aesthetics, and social perceptions that occur in visual culture. Class discussions and presentations illustrate personal portrayals as well as social and political readings associated with gender-based representations, the depiction and meaning of subcultures, feminist aesthetics, and works committed to the cultural expressions of a spectrum of minorities. The photographic and conceptual genres examined include portraiture, documentary, photojournalism (both classical and post-modern), and fashion. Assignments encourage students to explore and experience how representations pertaining to identity differ according to the context and intention of the artist. This course is part of a suite of electives designed to introduce students to major concepts present within the field of contemporary photography.

The course is divided into three sections: Subcultures, Gender and Sexuality, and Race and Culture.  Considering these three areas students examine and discuss artists whose work demonstrates how our cultural perception of the self is shaped by social issues and personal histories.