Tender Violence: Domestic Visions in an Age of U.S. Imperialism

Overview

Laura Wexler presents an incisive analysis of how the first American female photojournalists contributed to a "domestic vision" that reinforced the imperialism and racism of turn-of-the-century America. These women photographers, white and middle class, constructed images of war disguised as peace through a mechanism Wexler calls the "averted eye," which had its origins in the private domain of family photography.

Wexler examines the work of Frances Benjamin Johnston, Gertrude ...

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Overview

Laura Wexler presents an incisive analysis of how the first American female photojournalists contributed to a "domestic vision" that reinforced the imperialism and racism of turn-of-the-century America. These women photographers, white and middle class, constructed images of war disguised as peace through a mechanism Wexler calls the "averted eye," which had its origins in the private domain of family photography.

Wexler examines the work of Frances Benjamin Johnston, Gertrude Kasebier, Alice Austen, the Gerhard sisters, and Jessie Tarbox Beals. The book includes more than 150 photographs taken between 1898 and 1904, such as photos Johnston took aboard Admiral Dewey's flagship as it returned home from conquering Manila, Austen's photos of immigrants at Ellis Island, and Beals's images of the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904.

In a groundbreaking approach to the study of photography, Wexler raises up these images as "texts" to be analyzed alongside other texts of the period for what they say about the discourses of power. Tender Violence is an important contribution not only to the fields of history of photography and gender studies but also to our growing understanding of U.S. imperialism during this period.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Superb."
Feminist Studies

A politically sophisticated analysis of photographs as portrayal and betrayal.

Journal of American History

This book is a true landmark in the field of American studies.

Technology and Culture

Wexler offers a groundbreaking account of how some of America's first women photojournalists became complicit with America's imperialistic project.

Women's Review of Books

A rigorous and outstanding examination of gender as a key contributor to specific visual outcomes. . . . A most welcome addition.

Choice

[Shows] extraordinary scholarly imagination and acumen.

American Quarterly

From the Publisher

"Superb."
Feminist Studies

A politically sophisticated analysis of photographs as portrayal and betrayal.

Journal of American History

This book is a true landmark in the field of American studies.

Technology and Culture

Wexler offers a groundbreaking account of how some of America's first women photojournalists became complicit with America's imperialistic project.

Women's Review of Books

A rigorous and outstanding examination of gender as a key contributor to specific visual outcomes. . . . A most welcome addition.

Choice

[Shows] extraordinary scholarly imagination and acumen.

American Quarterly

Women's Review of Books
Wexler offers a groundbreaking account of how some of America's first women photojournalists became complicit with America's imperialistic project.
Choice
This book is a rigorous and outstanding examination of gender as a key contributor to specific visual outcomes.
Amy Kaplan
A remarkable book that skillfully interweaves the traditionally separate realms of domesticity and foreign policy.
Karen Sanchez-Eppler
This is one of the most beautifully architected academic books I know. Its portraits of early photographers and discussions of individual images build upon each other to produce a rich and ample sense of time and place so that reading it has often felt like inhabiting a world.
Booknews
Wexler (American studies, Yale U.) analyzes how the first American female photojournalists contributed to a domestic vision that reinforced the imperialism and racism of the US at the turn of the 20th century. The more than 150 photographs include images from Admiral Dewey's flagship returning from the conquest of Manila, immigrants at Ellis Island, and the St. Louis World's fair of 1904. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807848838
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 11/6/2000
  • Series: Cultural Studies of the United States Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Wexler is professor of American studies and women's, gender, and sexuality studies at Yale University.
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Table of Contents

Introduction
1. What a Woman Can Do with a Camera
2. Seeing Sentiment: Photography, Race, and the Innocent Eye
3. Tender Violence: Domestic Photographs, Domestic Fictions, and Educational Reform
4. Black and White and Color: The Hampton Album
5. Kasebier's Indians
6. The Domestic Unconscious
7. The Missing Link
Epilogue
Notes
Bibliography
Credits
Index

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