History | A300 2733 Photography & Identity In U.S. Hist. 4:00-5:15P TR BH006 Minner
A300 | 2733 | Minner M
Topic: picturing the nation: photography and identity in U.S.
A portion of the above section reserved for majors.
Above section open to undergraduates only
Since its emergence in the early nineteenth century, photography has
reflected and shaped Americans' perceptions of themselves, their
communities, and the nation. This course examines the growth and
development of photography in America and the role it has played in forming
national and group identity. We will pay particular attention to the
following question:How have changes in photographic technology affected our
perception of particular periods and subjects in U.S. history?
How has photography influenced and expressed Americans' ideas of important
themes such as war, urban and rural life, and the experiences of women and
How have Americans used photography to remember the past?
How have photographers depicted people: as commodities, victims, heroes,
Has affordable technology made photography a more democratic medium?
How has photography reflected and shaped Americans' perceptions of class,
citizenship, and the nation?
Required readings will average about 60-80 pages of text per week. Students
will need to look carefully at photographs related to the readings. The
required tests, subject to availability, are:
Sandweiss, Martha A. Photography in Nineteenth Century America (Fort Worth:
Amon Carter Museum, 1991).
Stange, Maren. Symbols of Ideal Life: Social Documentary Photography in
America, 1890-1950 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992)
Riis, Jacob A. How the Other Half Lives (New York: Dover reprint, 1971)
Natanson, Nicholas. The Black Image in the New Deal: The Politics of FSA
Photography (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1992)
Grades will be based on four components:
A midterm exam (20 percent)
A final exam (30 percent)
Several short papers (totaling about 10-12 pages) (30 percent)
Class participation and group activities (20 percent)
Throughout the semester we will periodically look at ways in which
photography and photographers have been portrayed in popular culture. We
may look at excerpts from some of the following films:
The Eyes of Laura Mars
The End of Violence