Tutorial in Visual and Aural History


This theoretical and methodological tutorial explores the incorporation of the visual and the aural into historical research.  Particular areas of emphasis include changing historical understandings of the senses; the advancement and critique of the concept of the “period eye/ear;” the analysis of images as historical sources; and the reconstruction of soundscapes and other aural phenomena.  Additional topics and readings will be designed according to students’ particular chronological, geographical, and methodological specializations.   

Core Reading List:


  • Michael Baxandall, Words for Pictures: Seven Papers on Renaissance Art and Criticism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003).
  • Teresa Brennan and Martin Jay, eds., Vision in Context: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Sight, (New York: Routledge, 1996).
  • Peter Burke, Eyewitnessing: The Uses of Images as Historical Evidence (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001).
  • Veit Erlmann, ed., Hearing Cultures: Essays on Sound, Listening and Modernity (Oxford: Berg Publishers, 2004).
  • Jessica Evans and Stuart Hall, eds., Visual Culture: The Reader (London: Sage Publications, 1999; reprint, 2004).
  • David Freedberg, The Power of Images: Studies in the History and Theory of Response (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).
  • Robert Jütte, A History of the Senses: From Antiquity to the Present Day (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005).
  • Serge Gruzinski, Images at War: Mexico from Columbus to Blade Runner (1492-2019), trans. Heather MacLean (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001).
  • Mark M. Smith, ed., Hearing History: A Reader (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2004).

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts