Looking for America: The Visual Production of Nation and People / Edition 1

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"This collection explores the role of the "visual" in shaping American identity. Introducing students to the visual in all its complexity and variety on the American scene - the language of signs; the historical construction and meaning of "types;" and the uses and politics of photography, film, bodily display, and documentaries - the volume underscores the productivity of the visual in thinking about race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and regionality. It clearly demonstrates that the ways in which people see and are seen determine who they are and how they see themselves as citizens and Americans." An editorial introduction places the articles within a narrative structure that tells a collective tale of how this experiment called "America" took on visual shape and meaning. Suggested readings, a primer on how to "read" an image, and a listing of visual archives and collections complete the volume, making this an indispensable text for those in American studies and related fields.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This collection is an invigorating, even stunning, revelation. I left it feeling as if I had learned a new language. Congratulations to Ardis Cameron for the creative insight with which she has woven together an argument for the indispensable value of ‘looking’ into the past.” Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University

“This book illuminates the role of the visual in constructions of American national identity. Most impressive is the demonstration that vision itself is not transparent, but an instrument that shapes, even as it is shaped by, relations of power.” Joan W. Scott, Institute for Advanced Study

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405114660
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/24/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Ardis Cameron is Professor of American and New England Studies, University of Southern Maine. She is author of Radicals of the Worst Sort: The Laboring of Lawrence, 1860–1912 (1993). She received a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for her work in progress, Tales of Peyton Place: The Biography of a Big Book.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. I 1860-1900 15
1 Sleuthing towards America : visual detection in everyday life 17
2 Cartes de Visite portrait photographs and the culture of class formation 42
Pt. II 1900-1940 59
3 Photographing the "American Negro" : nation, race, and photography at the Paris Exposition of 1900 61
4 Techniques of the imaginary nation : engendering family photography 94
5 Private eyes, public women : images of class and sex in the urban South, Atlanta, Georgia, 1913-1915 118
6 Margaret Bourke-White's red coat; or, slumming in the thirties 149
Pt. III 1940-2000 171
7 "The kind of people who make good Americans" : nationalism and Life's family ideal 173
8 Visual culture and working-class community : photography and the organizing of the Steelworkers' Union in Chicago 212
9 Sit-coms and suburbs : positioning the 1950s homemaker 238
10 The zoot-suit and style warfare 264
11 Looking Jewish, seeing Jews 281
12 The photograph as an intersection of gazes 311
13 When strangers bring cameras : the poetics and politics of othered places 340
App. A "Reading the visual record" 362
App. B List of visual archives 371
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