At the end of the nineteenth century, Germany turned toward colonialism, establishing protectorates in Africa, and toward a mass consumer society, mapping the meaning of commodities through advertising. These developments, distinct in the world of political economy, were intertwined in the world of visual culture.
David Ciarlo offers an innovative visual history of each of these transformations. Tracing commercial imagery across different products and media, Ciarlo shows how and why the “African native” had emerged by 1900 to become a familiar figure in the German landscape, selling everything from soap to shirts to coffee. The racialization of black figures, first associated with the American minstrel shows that toured Germany, found ever greater purchase in German advertising up to and after 1905, when Germany waged war against the Herero in Southwest Africa. The new reach of advertising not only expanded the domestic audience for German colonialism, but transformed colonialism’s political and cultural meaning as well, by infusing it with a simplified racial cast.
The visual realm shaped the worldview of the colonial rulers, illuminated the importance of commodities, and in the process, drew a path to German modernity. The powerful vision of racial difference at the core of this modernity would have profound consequences for the future.
Protestors across the world use aesthetics in order to communicate their ideas and ensure their voices are heard. This book looks at protest aesthetics, which we consider to be the visual and performative elements of protest, such as images, symbols, graffiti, art, as well as the choreography of protest actions in public spaces. Through the use of social media, protestors have been able to create an alternative space for people to engage with politics that is more inclusive and participatory than traditional politics. This volume focuses on the role of visual culture in a highly mediated environment and draws on case studies from Europe, Thailand, South Africa, USA, Argentina, and the Middle East in order to demonstrate how protestors use aesthetics to communicate their demands and ideas. It examines how digital media is harnessed by protestors and argues that all protest aesthetics are performative and communicative.
Although we tend to think of television primarily as a household fixture, TV monitors outside the home are widespread: in bars, laundromats, and stores; conveying flight arrival and departure times in airports; uniting crowds at sports events and allaying boredom in waiting rooms; and helping to pass the time in workplaces of all kinds. In Ambient Television Anna McCarthy explores the significance of this pervasive phenomenon, tracing the forms of conflict, commerce, and community that television generates outside the home. Discussing the roles television has played in different institutions from 1945 to the present day, McCarthy draws on a wide array of sources. These include retail merchandising literature, TV industry trade journals, and journalistic discussions of public viewing, as well as the work of cultural geographers, architectural theorists, media scholars, and anthropologists. She also uses photography as a research tool, documenting the uses and meanings of television sets in the built environment, and focuses on such locations as the tavern and the department store to show how television is used to support very different ideas about gender, class, and consumption. Turning to contemporary examples, McCarthy discusses practices such as Turner Private Networks’ efforts to transform waiting room populations into advertising audiences and the use of point-of-sale video that influences brand visibility and consumer behavior. Finally, she inquires into the activist potential of out-of-home television through a discussion of the video practices of two contemporary artists in everyday public settings. Scholars and students of cultural, visual, urban, American, film, and television studies will be interested in this thought-provoking, interdisciplinary book.
How did our ancestors die? Whereas in our own day the subject of death is usually avoided, in pre-Industrial England the rituals and processes of death were present and immediate. People not only surrounded themselves with memento mori, they also sought to keep alive memories of those who had gone before. This continual confrontation with death was enhanced by a rich culture of visual artifacts. In The Art of Death, Nigel Llewellyn explores the meanings behind an astonishing range of these artifacts, and describes the attitudes and practices which lay behind their production and use.
Illustrated and explained in this book are an array of little-known objects and images such as death's head spoons, jewels and swords, mourning-rings and fans, wax effigies, church monuments, Dance of Death prints, funeral invitations and ephemera, as well as works by well-known artists, including Holbein, Hogarth and Blake.
America in the 1950s: the world was not so much a stage as a setpiece for TV, the new national phenomenon. It was a time when how things looked--and how we looked--mattered, a decade of design that comes to vibrant life in As Seen on TV. From the painting-by-numbers fad to the public fascination with the First Lady's apparel to the television sensation of Elvis Presley to the sculptural refinement of the automobile, Marling explores what Americans saw and what they looked for with a gaze newly trained by TV. A study in style, in material culture, in art history at eye level, this book shows us as never before those artful everyday objects that stood for American life in the 1950s, as seen on TV.
Rachel Afi Quinn investigates how visual media portray Dominican women and how women represent themselves in their own creative endeavors in response to existing stereotypes. Delving into the dynamic realities and uniquely racialized gendered experiences of women in Santo Domingo, Quinn reveals the way racial ambiguity and color hierarchy work to shape experiences of identity and subjectivity in the Dominican Republic. She merges analyses of context and interviews with young Dominican women to offer rare insights into a Caribbean society in which the tourist industry and popular media reward, and rely upon, the ability of Dominican women to transform themselves to perform gender, race, and class.
Engaging and astute, Being La Dominicana reveals the little-studied world of today's young Dominican women and what their personal stories and transnational experiences can tell us about the larger neoliberal world.
If mediatization has surprisingly revealed the secret life of inert matter and the 'face of things', the flipside of this has been the petrification of living organisms, an invasion of stone bodies in a state of suspended animation. Within a contemporary imaginary pervaded by new forms of animism, the paradigm of death looms large in many areas of artistic experimentation, pushing the modern body towards mineral modes of being which revive ancient myths of flesh-made-stone and the issue of the monument. Scholars in media, visual culture and the arts propose studies of bodies of stone, from actors simulating statues to the transmutation of the filmic body into a fossil; from the real treatment of the cadaver as a mineral living object to the rediscovery of materials such as wax; from the quest for a "thermal" equivalence between stone and flesh to the transformation of the biomedical body into a living monument.
As the largest producer of films in the world, Indian cinema is both a major industry and a distinctive art form that permeates daily life in that country and shapes emerging global cultures elsewhere. While much has been written on the history of Indian cinema, its iconography and aesthetics have yet to be analyzed as reflections of national and cultural identities. In this important new work, Rachel Dwyer and Divia Patel focus on the development of Bombay-based commercial cinema since 1913, exploring the symbolic role of settings and costumes in staging the nation and the function of makeup and hairstyles in defining notions of beauty, sexuality, and consumption. The authors also examine how factors such as ethnicity, modernization, and Westernization impact reception of film along caste, region, language, and religious lines.
The economic influence of advertising in actually determining film content and the dissemination of its imagery are also discussed. Film studies scholars recently have begun to investigate advertising in the film industry and this book makes an important contribution to this emerging subfield in its engagement with Indian cinema and the impact of advertising on the culture at large.
Entrepreneurial science is not new; business interests have strongly influenced science since the Scientific Revolution. In Commercial Visions, Dániel Margócsy illustrates that product marketing, patent litigation, and even ghostwriting pervaded natural history and medicine—the “big sciences” of the early modern era—and argues that the growth of global trade during the Dutch Golden Age gave rise to an entrepreneurial network of transnational science.
Margócsy introduces a number of natural historians, physicians, and curiosi in Amsterdam, London, St. Petersburg, and Paris who, in their efforts to boost their trade, developed modern taxonomy, invented color printing and anatomical preparation techniques, and contributed to philosophical debates on topics ranging from human anatomy to Newtonian optics. These scientific practitioners, including Frederik Ruysch and Albertus Seba, were out to do business: they produced and sold exotic curiosities, anatomical prints, preserved specimens, and atlases of natural history to customers all around the world. Margócsy reveals how their entrepreneurial rivalries transformed the scholarly world of the Republic of Letters into a competitive marketplace.
Margócsy’s highly readable and engaging book will be warmly welcomed by anyone interested in early modern science, global trade, art, and culture.
Michele Wallace burst into public consciousness with the 1979 publication of Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman, a pioneering critique of the misogyny of the Black Power movement and the effects of racism and sexism on black women. Since then, Wallace has produced an extraordinary body of journalism and criticism engaging with popular culture and gender and racial politics. This collection brings together more than fifty of the articles she has written over the past fifteen years. Included alongside many of her best-known pieces are previously unpublished essays as well as interviews conducted with Wallace about her work. Dark Designs and Visual Culture charts the development of a singular, pathbreaking black feminist consciousness.
Beginning with a new introduction in which Wallace reflects on her life and career, this volume includes other autobiographical essays; articles focused on popular culture, the arts, and literary theory; and explorations of issues in black visual culture. Wallace discusses growing up in Harlem; how she dealt with the media attention and criticism she received for Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman, which was published when she was just twenty-seven years old; and her relationship with her family, especially her mother, the well-known artist Faith Ringgold. The many articles devoted to black visual culture range from the historical tragedy of the Hottentot Venus, an African woman displayed as a curiosity in nineteenth-century Europe, to films that sexualize the black body—such as Watermelon Woman, Gone with the Wind, and Paris Is Burning. Whether writing about the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas hearings, rap music, the Million Man March, Toshi Reagon, multiculturalism, Marlon Riggs, or a nativity play in Bedford Stuyvesant, Wallace is a bold, incisive critic. Dark Designs and Visual Culture brings the scope of her career and thought into sharp focus.
The end of the nineteenth century saw the Balkans animated with cultural movements and socio-political turmoil. Alongside these developments, the proliferation of print media and the arrival of moving images was transforming urban life and played a significant role in the creation of national culture.
Based on archival research and previously overlooked footage and early press materials, Imaginary of the Balkans: Visual Culture, Modernity and Early Cinema is the first study on early cinema in the region from a transnational and cross-cultural perspective. This work investigates how the unique geopolitical positioning of the Balkan space and the multi-cultural identity of its communities influenced and shaped visual culture and early cinema development. Moreover, it examines the relationship between the new medium and visual culture through the notion of the haptic, and explores the role early cinema and foreign productions played in the construction of Balkanist and semi-colonial discourses.
Reframing hierarchical relations between ‘centres’ and ‘peripheries’, this book departs from approaches such as “new cinema history” and “vernacular modernity” to counter modernity discourses of “lacks and absences”, and instead, establishes new connections between moving image and print artefacts, early film practitioners and intellectuals, the socio-cultural context and cultural responses to the new visual medium.
The creation and processing of visual representations in the life sciences is a critical but often overlooked aspect of scientific pedagogy. The Educated Eye follows the nineteenth-century embrace of the visible in new spectatoria, or demonstration halls, through the twentieth-century cinematic explorations of microscopic realms and simulations of surgery in virtual reality. With essays on Doc Edgerton’s stroboscopic techniques that froze time and Eames’s visualization of scale in Powers of Ten, among others, contributors ask how we are taught to see the unseen.
In Haunted Life, David Marriott examines the complex interplay between racial fears and anxieties and the political-visual cultures of suspicion and state terror. He compels readers to consider how media technologies are "haunted" by the phantom of racial slavery. Through examples from film and television, modernist literature, and philosophy, he shows how the ideological image of a brutal African past is endlessly recycled and how this perpetuation of historical catastrophe stokes our nation's race-conscious paranoia.
Drawing on a range of comparative readings by writers, theorists, and filmmakers, including John Edgar Wideman, Frantz Fanon, Richard Wright, Issac Julien, Alain Locke, and Sidney Poitier, Haunted Life is a bold and original exploration of the legacies of black visual culture and the political, deeply sexualized violence that lies buried beneath it.
The democratic election of Nelson Mandela as president of South Africa in 1994 marked the demise of apartheid and the beginning of a new struggle to define the nation’s past. History after Apartheid analyzes how, in the midst of the momentous shift to an inclusive democracy, South Africa’s visual and material culture represented the past while at the same time contributing to the process of social transformation. Considering attempts to invent and recover historical icons and narratives, art historian Annie E. Coombes examines how strategies for embodying different models of historical knowledge and experience are negotiated in public culture—in monuments, museums, and contemporary fine art.
History after Apartheid explores the dilemmas posed by a wide range of visual and material culture including key South African heritage sites. How prominent should Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress be in the museum at the infamous political prison on Robben Island? How should the postapartheid government deal with the Voortrekker Monument mythologizing the Boer Trek of 1838? Coombes highlights the contradictory investment in these sites among competing constituencies and the tensions involved in the rush to produce new histories for the “new” South Africa.
She reveals how artists and museum officials struggled to adequately represent painful and difficult histories ignored or disavowed under apartheid, including slavery, homelessness, and the attempted destruction of KhoiSan hunter-gatherers. Describing how contemporary South African artists address historical memory and the ambiguities uncovered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Coombes illuminates a body of work dedicated to the struggle to simultaneously remember the past and move forward into the future.
Almost thirty years ago, W. J. T. Mitchell’s Iconology helped launch the interdisciplinary study of visual media, now a central feature of the humanities. Along with his subsequent Picture Theory and What Do Pictures Want?, Mitchell’s now-classic work introduced such ideas as the pictorial turn, the image/picture distinction, the metapicture, and the biopicture. These key concepts imply an approach to images as true objects of investigation—an “image science.”
Continuing with this influential line of thought, Image Science gathers Mitchell’s most recent essays on media aesthetics, visual culture, and artistic symbolism. The chapters delve into such topics as the physics and biology of images, digital photography and realism, architecture and new media, and the occupation of space in contemporary popular uprisings. The book looks both backward at the emergence of iconology as a field and forward toward what might be possible if image science can indeed approach pictures the same way that empirical sciences approach natural phenomena.
Essential for those involved with any aspect of visual media, Image Science is a brilliant call for a method of studying images that overcomes the “two-culture split” between the natural and human sciences.
From seventeenth-century broadsides about the handling of dead bodies, printed during London's plague years, to YouTube videos about preventing the transmission of STDs, public health advocacy and education has always had a powerful visual component. Imagining Illness explores the diverse visual culture of public health, broadly defined, from the nineteenth century to the present.
Contributors to this volume examine historical and contemporary visual practices-Chinese health fairs, documentary films produced by the World Health Organization, illness maps, fashions for nurses, and live surgery on the Internet-in order to delve into the political and epidemiological contexts underlying their creation and dissemination.
Contributors: Liping Bu, Alma College; Lisa Cartwright, U of California, San Diego; Roger Cooter, U College London; William H. Helfand; Lenore Manderson, Monash U, Australia; Emily Martin, New York U; Gregg Mitman, U of Wisconsin, Madison; Mark Monmonier, Syracuse U; Kirsten Ostherr, Rice U; Katherine Ott, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian; Shawn Michelle Smith, Art Institute of Chicago; Claudia Stein, Warwick U.
In the years following the Mexican Revolution, visual images of la chica moderna, the modern woman, au courant in appearance and attitude, popped up in mass media across the country. Some of the images were addressed directly to women through advertisements, as illustrations accompanying articles in women’s magazines, and on the “women’s pages” in daily newspapers. Others illustrated domestic and international news stories, promoted tourism, or publicized the latest Mexican and Hollywood films. In Imagining la Chica Moderna, Joanne Hershfield examines these images, exploring how the modern woman was envisioned in Mexican popular culture and how she figured into postrevolutionary contestations over Mexican national identity.
Through her detailed interpretations of visual representations of la chica moderna, Hershfield demonstrates how the images embodied popular ideas and anxieties about sexuality, work, motherhood, and feminine beauty, as well as class and ethnicity. Her analysis takes into account the influence of mexicanidad, the vision of Mexican national identity promoted by successive postrevolutionary administrations, and the fashions that arrived in Mexico from abroad, particularly from Paris, New York, and Hollywood. She considers how ideals of the modern housewife were promoted to Mexican women through visual culture; how working women were represented in illustrated periodicals and in the Mexican cinema; and how images of traditional “types” of Mexican women, such as la china poblana (the rural woman), came to define a “domestic exotic” form of modern femininity. Scrutinizing photographs of Mexican women that accompanied articles in the Mexican press during the 1920s and 1930s, Hershfield reflects on the ways that the real and the imagined came together in the production of la chica moderna.
In Legal Spectatorship Kelli Moore traces the political origins of the concept of domestic violence through visual culture in the United States. Tracing its appearance in Article IV of the Constitution, slave narratives, police notation, cybernetic theories of affect, criminal trials, and the “look” of the battered woman, Moore contends that domestic violence refers to more than violence between intimate partners—it denotes the mechanisms of racial hierarchy and oppression that undergird republican government in the United States. Moore connects the use of photographic evidence of domestic violence in courtrooms, which often stands in for women’s testimony, to slaves’ silent experience and witnessing of domestic abuse. Drawing on Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, abolitionist print culture, courtroom witness testimony, and the work of Hortense Spillers, Moore shows how the logic of slavery and antiblack racism also dictates the silencing techniques of the contemporary domestic violence courtroom. By positioning testimony on contemporary domestic violence prosecution within the archive of slavery, Moore demonstrates that domestic violence and its image are haunted by black bodies, black flesh, and black freedom.
Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award recipient
Through a rich interpretation of the remarkable photographs W. E. B. Du Bois compiled for the American Negro Exhibit at the 1900 Paris Exposition, Shawn Michelle Smith reveals the visual dimension of the color line that Du Bois famously called “the problem of the twentieth century.” Du Bois’s prize-winning exhibit consisted of three albums together containing 363 black-and-white photographs, mostly of middle-class African Americans from Atlanta and other parts of Georgia. Smith provides an extensive analysis of the images, the antiracist message Du Bois conveyed by collecting and displaying them, and their connection to his critical thought. She contends that Du Bois was an early visual theorist of race and racism and demonstrates how such an understanding makes the important concepts he developed—including double consciousness, the color line, the Veil, and second sight—available to visual culture and African American studies scholars in powerful new ways.
Smith reads Du Bois’s photographs in relation to other turn-of-the-century images such as scientific typologies, criminal mugshots, racist caricatures, and lynching photographs. By juxtaposing these images with reproductions from Du Bois’s exhibition archive, Smith shows how Du Bois deliberately challenged racist representations of African Americans. Emphasizing the importance of comparing multiple visual archives, Photography on the Color Line reinvigorates understandings of the stakes of representation and the fundamental connections between race and visual culture in the United States.
In a study driven by stunning images of Japanese advertisements and the artworks they quote from, Ory Bartal offers a first-of-its-kind interpretation of the “postmodern” genre of advertising in Japan, which both shaped and reflected the new consumer-driven culture that arose during the bubble era of the 1980s and 1990s. Through a fascinating tale of art directors and their works and influences, Bartal shows how this postmodern visual language, like postmodernism in other streams, is distinguished by its mélange of styles, blurring of boundaries between art and design, and reliance on visual and textual quotations from sources past and present, domestic and foreign. Although this advertising culture partakes of global trends, Bartal draws attention to the varied local artistic sensibilities, structures of thought, and underlying practices, challenging the often-simplistic characterization of “Japaneseness” as being rooted in a Zen tradition of aesthetic indirectness and ambiguity. Combining multilingual scholarship with a wealth of information gleaned through years of personal interviews with the principals involved, this is a truly original contribution to the discussion of Japanese art and advertising as well as an insightful reading of more general issues in the study of visual culture and media.
The significant anarchist, black, and socialist world-movements that emerged in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth adapted discourses of sentiment and sensation and used the era's new forms of visual culture to move people to participate in projects of social, political, and economic transformation. Drawing attention to the vast archive of images and texts created by radicals prior to the 1930s, Shelley Streeby analyzes representations of violence and of abuses of state power in response to the Haymarket police riot, of the trial and execution of the Chicago anarchists, and of the mistreatment and imprisonment of Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magón and other members of the Partido Liberal Mexicano. She considers radicals' reactions to and depictions of U.S. imperialism, state violence against the Yaqui Indians in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the failure of the United States to enact laws against lynching, and the harsh repression of radicals that accelerated after the United States entered the First World War. By focusing on the adaptation and critique of sentiment, sensation, and visual culture by radical world-movements in the period between the Haymarket riots of 1886 and the deportation of Marcus Garvey in 1927, Streeby sheds new light on the ways that these movements reached across national boundaries, criticized state power, and envisioned alternative worlds.
In the early twentieth century, Brazil shifted from a nation intent on whitening its population to one billing itself as a racial democracy. Anadelia Romo shows that this shift centered in Salvador, Bahia, where throughout the 1950s, modernist artists and intellectuals forged critical alliances with Afro-Brazilian religious communities of Candomblé to promote their culture and their city. These efforts combined with a growing promotion of tourism to transform what had been one of the busiest slaving depots in the Americas into a popular tourist enclave celebrated for its rich Afro-Brazilian culture. Vibrant illustrations and texts by the likes of Jorge Amado, Pierre Verger, and others contributed to a distinctive iconography of the city, with Afro-Bahians at its center. But these optimistic visions of inclusion, Romo reveals, concealed deep racial inequalities. Illustrating how these visual archetypes laid the foundation for Salvador’s modern racial landscape, this book unveils the ways ethnic and racial populations have been both included and excluded not only in Brazil but in Latin America as a whole.
This book places the discourse surrounding stigmata within the visual culture of the late medieval and early modern periods, with a particular focus on Italy and on female stigmatics. Echoing, and to a certain extent recreating, the wounds and pain inflicted on Christ during his passion, stigmata stimulated controversy. Related to this were issues that were deeply rooted in contemporary visual culture such as how stigmata were described and performed and whether, or how, it was legitimate to represent stigmata in visual art. Because of the contested nature of stigmata and because stigmata did not always manifest in the same form - sometimes invisible, sometimes visible only periodically, sometimes miraculous, and sometimes self-inflicted - they provoked complex questions and reflections relating to the nature and purpose of visual representation.
Fascinated by the myth of the Russian avant-garde and scornful of official art, the West has been selective in its engagement with Russian visual culture. Yet how do contemporary Russian scholars and critics themselves approach the history of visual culture in the former Soviet Union?
Taking its title from a Russian word that can refer to the 'texture" of life, painting, or writing, this anthology assembles thirteen key essays in art history and cultural theory by Russian-language writers. The essays erase boundaries between high and low, official and dissident, avant-garde and socialist realism, art and everyday life. Everything visual is deemed worthy of analysis, whether painting or propaganda banners, architecture or candy wrappers, mass celebrations or urban refuse.
Most of the essays appear here in English for the first time. The editors have selected works of the past twenty years by philosophers, literary critics, film scholars, and art historians. Also included are influential earlier essays by Mikhail Bakhtin, V. N. Voloshinov, and Sergei Eisenstein. Compiled for general readers and specialists alike, Tekstura is a valuable resource for anyone interested in Russian and Soviet cultural history or in new theoretical approaches to the visual.
Now that it has become so commonplace, we rarely blink an eye at camera footage framed by the crosshairs of a sniper’s gun or from the perspective of a descending smart bomb. But how did this weaponized gaze become the norm for depicting war, and how has it influenced public perceptions?
Through the Crosshairs traces the genealogy of this weapon’s-eye view across a wide range of genres, including news reports, military public relations images, action movies, video games, and social media posts. As he tracks how gun-camera footage has spilled from the battlefield onto the screens of everyday civilian life, Roger Stahl exposes how this raw video is carefully curated and edited to promote identification with military weaponry, rather than with the targeted victims. He reveals how the weaponized gaze is not only a powerful propagandistic frame, but also a prime site of struggle over the representation of state violence.
In this first book-length study of media images of multiracial Asian Americans, Leilani Nishime traces the codes that alternatively enable and prevent audiences from recognizing the multiracial status of Asian Americans. Nishime's perceptive readings of popular media--movies, television shows, magazine articles, and artwork--indicate how and why the viewing public often fails to identify multiracial Asian Americans. Using actor Keanu Reeves and the Matrix trilogy, golfer Tiger Woods as examples, Nishime suggests that this failure is tied to gender, sexuality, and post-racial politics. Also considering alternative images such as reality TV star Kimora Lee Simmons, the television show Battlestar Galactica, and the artwork of Kip Fulbeck, this incisive study offers nuanced interpretations that open the door to a new and productive understanding of race in America.
As sites of continual change and transformation, cities are fundamentally forgetful places. Yet at the same time, urban areas are also homes to museums and archives that collect and exhibit the past-a key cultural, political, and economic activity. This book looks at that paradox through the example of Berlin to see how the city has responded to challenges to memory created by rapid changes in politics, economics, society, and the built environment, ultimately arguing that the recovery of the experience of time is central to the practices of an emergent memory culture in the contemporary city.
Between 1777 and 1816, botanical expeditions crisscrossed the vast Spanish empire in an ambitious project to survey the flora of much of the Americas, the Caribbean, and the Philippines. While these voyages produced written texts and compiled collections of specimens, they dedicated an overwhelming proportion of their resources and energy to the creation of visual materials. European and American naturalists and artists collaborated to manufacture a staggering total of more than 12,000 botanical illustrations. Yet these images have remained largely overlooked—until now.
In this lavishly illustrated volume, Daniela Bleichmar gives this archive its due, finding in these botanical images a window into the worlds of Enlightenment science, visual culture, and empire. Through innovative interdisciplinary scholarship that bridges the histories of science, visual culture, and the Hispanic world, Bleichmar uses these images to trace two related histories: the little-known history of scientific expeditions in the Hispanic Enlightenment and the history of visual evidence in both science and administration in the early modern Spanish empire. As Bleichmar shows, in the Spanish empire visual epistemology operated not only in scientific contexts but also as part of an imperial apparatus that had a long-established tradition of deploying visual evidence for administrative purposes.
In this extensively illustrated work, Vanessa Meikle Schulman reveals how visual representations of labor, technology, and industry were crucial in shaping the way nineteenth-century Americans understood their nation and its place in the world. Her focus is the period between 1857 and 1887, an era marked by the rapid expansion of rail and telegraph networks, the rise of powerful, centralized corporations, and the creation of specialized facilities for the mechanized production and distribution of products. Through the examination of popular as well as fine art—news illustrations and paintings of American machines, workers, factories, and technical innovations—she illuminates an evolving tension between the perception of technology and industry as rational, logical, and systemic on the one hand and as essentially unknowable, strange, or irrational on the other.
Ranging across the fields of art history, visual studies, the history of technology, and American studies, Work Sights captures both the richness of nineteenth-century American visual culture and the extent to which Americans had begun to perceive their country as a modern nation connected by a web of interlocking technological systems.
Writing Technology in Meiji Japan boldly rethinks the origins of modern Japanese language, literature, and visual culture from the perspective of media history. Drawing upon methodological insights by Friedrich Kittler and extensive archival research, Seth Jacobowitz investigates a range of epistemic transformations in the Meiji era (1868–1912), from the rise of communication networks such as telegraph and post to debates over national language and script reform. He documents the changing discursive practices and conceptual constellations that reshaped the verbal, visual, and literary regimes from the Tokugawa era. These changes culminate in the discovery of a new vernacular literary style from the shorthand transcriptions of theatrical storytelling (rakugo) that was subsequently championed by major writers such as Masaoka Shiki and Natsume Sōseki as the basis for a new mode of transparently objective, “transcriptive” realism. The birth of modern Japanese literature is thus located not only in shorthand alone, but within the emergent, multimedia channels that were arriving from the West. This book represents the first systematic study of the ways in which media and inscriptive technologies available in Japan at its threshold of modernization in the late nineteenth to early twentieth century shaped and brought into being modern Japanese literature.
As the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy assassination approaches, the traumatic aspects of the tragedy continue to haunt our perceptions of the 1960s. One reason for this lies in the home movie of the incident filmed by Abraham Zapruder, a bystander who became one of the twentieth century's most important accidental documentarians.
The first book devoted exclusively to the topic, Zaprudered traces the journey of the film and its effect on the world's collective imagination. Providing insightful perspective as an observer of American culture, Norwegian media studies scholar Øyvind Vågnes begins by analyzing three narratives that are projections of Zapruder's images: performance group Ant Farm's video The Eternal Frame, Don DeLillo's novel Underworld, and an episode from Seinfeld. Subsequent topics he investigates include Dealey Plaza's Sixth Floor Museum, Zoran Naskovski's installation Death in Dallas, assassin video games, and other artifacts of the ways in which the footage has made a lasting impact on popular culture and the historical imagination. Vågnes also explores the role of other accidental documentarians, such as those who captured scenes of 9/11.
Zapruder's footage has never yielded a conclusive account of what happened in Dealey Plaza. Zaprudered thoroughly examines both this historical enigma and its indelible afterimages in our collective imagination.