Books

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Looking For America

Looking for America: The Visual Production of Nation and People is a groundbreaking collection that explores the “visual” in defining the kaleidoscope of American experience and American identity in the 20th century.

  • Covers enduringly important topics in American history: nationhood, class, politics of identity, and the visual mapping of “others”

  • Includes editorial introductions, suggested readings, a primer on how to "read" an image, and a guide to visual archives and collections

  • Well-illustrated book for those in American Studies and related fields eager to incorporate the visual into their teaching―and telling―of the American story.

 "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 Studies

"THIS GROUNDBREAKING 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.  (Back cover of the book).

 

"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 had woven together with an argument for the indispensable value of 'looking' into the past." 

 

Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University