Assembling a rich archive of images and texts from the eighteenth century to the present, Rachel Hall offers a history of the "wanted" poster, examining its uses, patterns of circulation, and formal development as an iconic print genre. Her narrative covers a wide range of images: execution broadsides, runaway slave notices, private detective posters, FBI posters, artists' approximations, and the depiction of key figures in the "war on terror." Hall's cultural analysis has profound implications for our understanding of contemporary American fantasies of vulnerability, projection of enemies around the world, and adoption of security measures in domestic and foreign policy.
Wanted will appeal not only to students and scholars in literary studies, cultural studies, and art history but also to readers more generally interested in society's outlaws and in the test of wills between law enforcement and criminal evasion.
About the Author
Rachel Hall is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Louisiana State University.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations xi
Introduction: The Making of the Vigilante Viewer 1
Chapter 1 Execution Broadsides 25
Chapter 2 Slave Notices 42
Chapter 3 Pinkerton Posters 64
Chapter 4 The FBI's Most Wanted 91
Chapter 5 America's Most Wanted 110
Conclusion: The Vigilante Viewer Rides Again 137
What People are Saying About This
Images of crime and lawlessness have long dominated American culture across the lines of virtually all media forms. Not only does Rachel Hall's Wanted: The Outlaw in American Visual Culture fill a distinct gap in scholarly literature on crime and visual culture, it is a provocative and important contribution to cultural studies of crime.(Carol Stabile, University of Oregon, author of White Victims, Black Villains: Gender and Race in U.S. Crime News)