Representations of violence have long been the center of controversy in art and politics. We will begin with a comparison of tragedy, in which higher meaning is found in violence, to the modern idea of "senseless violence" and sensationalist representations believed to be "bad" for us. From there we will consider specific examples: lynching, Hollywood, war, and terrorism that have focused debate about the meaning and efficacy of the representation of violence, the need to control it, and the forms such representations may take. We will study works of literature, the history of photography, film, and television, and draw on secondary readings in cultural criticism, philosophy, sociology, and history. We will end with a consideration of the television show 24 and its controversial depiction of torture.