Knowledge of the main methodological approaches to the history and theory of photography; ability to investigate photographic objects in their contexts of production and conservation; ability to conduct art-historical research on photographers and photographic archives, collections, institutions, and publications; ability to share research questions and outcomes in different areas of scientific, educational, and informational communication.
teacher profile | teaching materials


The course (first semester) is a reading, discussion and research seminar. The theme of the seminar will be announced at the beginning of the class.

Core Documentation

Weekly readings, including essays in Italian and English, will be announced shortly. For both regular and “non attending” students, the readings will be available at the art history library “Luigi Grassi” (Piazza della Repubblica 10) and via Moodle.

Bibliographic research for the final paper is part of the required work and will be evaluated as such.

Reference Bibliography

Students who have never taken a history of photography class may want to consider the following surveys books: A. Gunthert, M. Poivert, eds, Storia della fotografia dalle origini ai giorni nostri, Milan: Electa, 2009 (orig. ed. in French); W. Guadagnini, ed., La fotografia. Una nuova visione del mondo 1891–1940, Geneve-Milan, Skira, 2012 (also available in English); W. Guadagnini, ed., La fotografia. Dalla stampa al museo 1941–1980, Skira, Geneve-Milan, Skira, 2013 (also available in English).

Type of delivery of the course

1. There are no prerequisites. However, the course requires a solid foundation on the history, languages, and critical issues of photography and modern art. Class lectures will focus on historiographical and methodological issues and will not address subjects already covered in the survey course. 2. The seminar includes weekly readings and discussions, defining and presenting an individual research project, and completing a paper on a theme related to the lectures. 3. Each week, a different student will be asked to write a short review (400 words) and start the discussion on the assigned reading. 4. All students are responsible for the contents of the weekly reading and are required to participate in the class discussion. 5. In order to sign up for the final exam, students will be required to define a research program and to write a paper (3.500 words, notes and bibliography included) on a topic related to the theme of the course. The topic, structure, and bibliography of the final paper must be discussed with the instructor during the class period, according to the deadlines listed in the syllabus. Specific methodological indications will be provided in class and during office hours. 6. Since the course is an intensive discussion and research seminar, attendance and active participation are crucial. Up to three absences are permitted; in any case, absences will not be allowed on the day assigned for the individual presentation (see point 3.) and on the days scheduled for the discussion of the research projects. Students who fail to participate to weekly discussions are required to make up for their absence with a short review (400 words) of the assigned reading. Students who cannot meet these requirements will be automatically considered non-attending students (see below).

Type of evaluation

For regular students, the final grade will be determined as follows: 1. two short essays (400 words each) on the weekly readings listed in the syllabus: 20% of the final grade; 2. research paper: 40%. 3. oral exam on the required readings: 40%. Students formally enrolled as non-attending and those who cannot meet the criteria specified above (attendance, presentations, etc.) are required to inform the instructor by April 6, 2022. For non-attending students, the final grade will be determined as follows: 1. ten short essays (400 words each) on the weekly readings listed in the syllabus: 40% of the final grade; 2. oral exam on the required readings: 60%.