Sight Unseen: Whiteness and American Visual Culture / Edition 1

Sight Unseen: Whiteness and American Visual Culture / Edition 1

by Martin A. Berger
     
 

ISBN-10: 0520244591

ISBN-13: 9780520244597

Pub. Date: 11/03/2005

Publisher: University of California Press

Sight Unseen explores how racial identity guides the interpretation of the visual world. Through a nimble analysis of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century paintings, photographs, museums, and early motion pictures, Martin A. Berger illustrates how a shared investment in whiteness invisibly guides what Americans of European descent see, what they

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Overview

Sight Unseen explores how racial identity guides the interpretation of the visual world. Through a nimble analysis of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century paintings, photographs, museums, and early motion pictures, Martin A. Berger illustrates how a shared investment in whiteness invisibly guides what Americans of European descent see, what they accept as true, and, ultimately, what legal, social, and economic policies they enact.

Carefully reconstructing the racial and philosophical contexts of selected artworks that contain no narrative links to race, the author exposes the effects of racial thinking on our interpretation of the visual world. Bucolic genre paintings of white farmers, pristine landscape photographs of the western frontier, monumental civic architecture, and early action films provide case studies for investigating how European-American sight became inextricably bound to the racial values of American society. Berger shows how artworks are more significant for confirming internalized beliefs on race, than they are for selling us on racial values we do not yet own. A significant contribution to the growing field of whiteness studies, this accessible, provocative, and compelling book exposes how something as apparently natural as sight is conditioned by the racial values of society.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520244597
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
11/03/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
252
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments


Introduction: White Like Me
1. Genre Painting and the Foundations of Modern Race
2. Landscape Photography and the White Gaze
3. Museum Architecture and the Imperialism of Whiteness
4. Silent Cinema and the Gradations of Whiteness
Epilogue: The Triumph of Racialized Thought

Notes
Bibliography

Index

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