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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you have the time...
Not by any means an introduction to the field of visual studies, however it is true to its title in that it indeed is skeptical. If you do not have a previous knowledge of visual studies, this book will not provide much clarification. The text comes across as a curriculum guide for educators. Elkins is proficient at pointing out the flaws of the discipline, and I'd agree...
Published on August 5, 2004 by P. Funk

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20 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars several points
I was initially interested in the newly emerging field of visual studies, however after reading several of elkins' other books as well as taking a course taught by the author, I have lost what interest I had. This book follows similar themes as his others and while it does a fantastic job of presenting problems within the field, it does not present any feasible...
Published on January 15, 2005 by ponylegs


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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you have the time..., August 5, 2004
This review is from: Visual Studies: A Skeptical Introduction (Paperback)
Not by any means an introduction to the field of visual studies, however it is true to its title in that it indeed is skeptical. If you do not have a previous knowledge of visual studies, this book will not provide much clarification. The text comes across as a curriculum guide for educators. Elkins is proficient at pointing out the flaws of the discipline, and I'd agree that it is "too easy." Elkins provides many great examples of images from science to dogtags that could be de-coded under the rubric of visual studies. However, after providing these examples, he does not actually go through any interpretative process. Perhaps he is leaving this task for the reader to do..? Knowing how intelligent Elkins is, I would have loved to read his interpretations of the examples he provides. Elkins also provides a good precis of the canonical literature.

This is not a ground-breaking book, but if you are involved in any way with this field of knowledge, I'd definately suggest it. Otherwise, seek elsewhere for a more thorough introduction.
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20 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars several points, January 15, 2005
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ponylegs (chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Visual Studies: A Skeptical Introduction (Paperback)
I was initially interested in the newly emerging field of visual studies, however after reading several of elkins' other books as well as taking a course taught by the author, I have lost what interest I had. This book follows similar themes as his others and while it does a fantastic job of presenting problems within the field, it does not present any feasible alternatives.

Concerning the images included, it is problematic that elkins does not then interpret at least some of the images. However, I do not believe that elkins is leaving this task for the reader to do. Having listened to his lectures I believe that elkins includes the images simply because they strike him in some way or another, not because they have any relevance to the field in question. This lack of relevance seems to pervade the majority of his literature and indeed the field as a whole.
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Visual Studies: A Skeptical Introduction
Visual Studies: A Skeptical Introduction by James Elkins (Paperback - August 10, 2003)
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