ABSTRACT

Whatever the stated goals of visual studies, its effect is the production of new knowledge and its first challenge is to be aware of this.139 According to one well-established, critical tradition, this means questioning the conditions of its own production. Why is visual studies a hot spot of interest at this time? Whose interests are being served? In analyzing the technologies of cultural production and reproduction, can visual studies affect their use? Is this inquiry merely a response to the new realities of global culture, or is it producing that culture, and if the latter, can it do so critically? These questions are not academic. They are concerned unavoidably with the larger world, and with the inevitable connection between knowledge and power that shapes that world in general and fundamentally political ways.