Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code COMM323
Coordinator Dr J Blejmar
Communication and Media
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 6 FHEQ First Semester 15


This module aims to:

• Develop students’ ability to read, discuss and write critically about the photographic image, by recognising its aesthetic components, its role in memory politics, and the ethics of the photographic gaze and consumption.

• Provide students with an introduction to the history of photography, from the daguerreotype to the digital photograph.

• Examine key theoretical frameworks and contemporary debates on photographs of suffering and human rights violations.

In helping students to develop their understanding and evaluation of photographic texts, the module seeks to enhance their critical and analytic skills, as well as their comprehension of the social and ideological discourses photography participates in more broadly.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) The capacity to identify the components of a photographic image; its different private and public uses; and its historical changes.

(LO2) The ability to discuss relevant theories, debates and key concepts in the analysis of photographs.

(LO3) A critical awareness of the impact of photography in key events related to the violation of human rights that took place during the second half of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

(S1) Research-related skills — locate, discuss, analyse, evaluate information from international sources.

(S2) Literacy skills — oral literacy, including listening and questioning; the application of literacy demonstrated through the ability to produce clear, structured written work.

(S3) Problem solving/critical thinking skills — analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

(S4) Ethical awareness — identify and utilise international/global perspectives as professionals and citizens, consider issues from a variety of cultural perspectives, consider ethical and social responsibility issues in international settings; value diversity of language and culture.



Topics may include:


Reading Photographs

Photography, Indexicality and Affect

Photojournalism and the Decisive Moment

Photography in the Digital Age

Photography and Social Media

Secular Icons and Picturing Atrocities

Photography and Human Rights

Photo montages and Memory

Photography and Postmemory

Instant Photography


Independent Study in Week 7.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - Lectures
Description: Lectures will introduce key themes, debates, concepts and perspectives. Some lectures will incorporate the analysis of photographic texts.
Attendance Recorded: Yes
Scheduled Directed Student Hours: 12

Teaching Method 2 - Workshops
Workshops will explore topics raised in the lecture, and will encourage students to engage in group discussions around weekly readings and specific images. Students will be encouraged to express and explore their own opinions and perspectives on class topics and materials.
Attendance Recorded: Yes
Scheduled Directed Student Hours: 12

Self-Directed Learning Description: Independent study should be spent reading around the weekly topics (reading lists with compulsory and suggested titles will be provided), preparing for the seminars and towards the assessment.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 12


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 126


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 2: Image Analysis Students will be asked to submit a 2,000-words essay on picturing atrocities, photography and memory There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for lat  -2000 words    60       
Assessment 1: Academic Poster Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment.  -650 words    40       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.