cod. 1006559

Academic year 2018/19
1° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Storia dell'arte contemporanea (L-ART/03)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
72 hours
of face-to-face activities
9 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding:
At the end of the course, students are expected to have acquired the knowledge of the argument, as well as to be able to contextualize, at least in outline, the main actors in the history of photography, connecting them to the general historical and cultural environment of their time. Another goal of this course is to provide students with the critical skills necessary for a self understanding of the intricate 20th Century theoretical debate on photography.

Applying knowledge and understanding
Upon completion of the course, students are expected to have the ability to understand the photographic document, reading the photographic works of main authors, highlighting their specific features.

Making judgements:

Another goal of this course is to provide students with the critical skills necessary to for a self analysis of the intricate 20th Century theoretical debate on photography: students will be required to show their skill of making judgements and their ability in analyzing and interpreting the most important texts on the photographic image.

Communication skills
Students will acquire the communication skills in order to present their acquired knowledge, thanks to effective speeches and an appropriate language for the discipline.

Learning skills:

Students will acquire the learning skills to autonomously develop the study of the discipline, in terms of historical and theoretical point of view.



Course unit content

The course aims to provide students with historical and critical knowledge of the history of photography through the reading of works by all the main important photographers active in the 19th and 20th Century. Specific attention will be given to the groups and movements representing particular shifts in the use of the medium. Moreover, the course will propose relevant and up to date theoretical and methodological tools to analyse photographic images, focusing on its originality and peculiarity among other kinds of visual document.

Full programme

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In addition to the notes and materials provided by the teacher, students can use the materials available on
In addition they will have to study a text chosen from:
S. Sontag, Sulla fotografia. Realtà e immagine nella nostra società, Einaudi, Torino 1992
R. Barthes, La camera chiara. Nota sulla fotografia, Einaudi, Torino 2003
D. Levi Strauss, Politica della fotografia, PostmediaBooks, Milano 2007

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures aimed at giving an outline of the specific methodology, with readings from the main theoretical sources and participated analyses of a series of pictures.

The course is offered in a blended mode with the support of online self access material available on This material is part of the assignments for all students.

Assessment methods and criteria

The oral examination will focus on the topics taught in class and in the paths on the distance learning platform and on the indicated bibliography. A fail is determined by the lack of an understanding of the basic contents of the course, the inability to express oneself adequately, by a lack of autonomous preparation, the inability to solve problems related to information retrieval and an inability to make independent judgments and communicate content, analysis and judgments in well-argumented, competent and convincing ways. A pass (18-23/30) is determined by the student’s ability to perform at an accettable level of knowledge contents of the course: during the final oral examination, students must demonstrate to have acquired the basic knowledge to read the photographic document in its technical and linguistic specificity, to put its formal elements in relation with the general context of the developments of both photography and the critical debate about it. During the exam, students will have to show their ability in autonomously apply the method of analysis to emblematic cases study seen in class room, as well as the acquisition of a proper, specific terminology. Middle-range scores (24-27/30) are assigned to the student who perform at a more than sufficient level (24-25/30) or good level (26-27/30) in the evaluation indicators listed above. Higher scores (from 28/30 to 30/30 cum laude) are awarded on the basis of the student’s demonstration of a very good or excellent level in the ability to make interdisciplinary references, in the ownership of language and in a good ability to reelaborate data.

Other information

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