History | Images as History: Photography, Race, and Citizenship in the U.S. and Latin America
F300 | 14095 | K. Coleman


Above class is open to undergraduates and EDUC MAs only.

Is a picture worth 1,000 words? If so, why? What is a photograph?
Do photographs represent Reality or structure “reality”? How has a
black box that captures light changed our culture?How has this same
technology of “mechanical reproduction” worked in Latin America?
How do discourses—of gender and race, class and citizenship—congeal
in photographs? And what role have visual images and technologies
played in shaping those discourses? In what ways has photography
served as a technology of imperial power? How is one’s perception
shaped by their historical context? In what ways do photography and
photographs stratify societies and exacerbate social, economic, and
political inequalities? And in what ways do photos break down
barriers, allowing us to recognize each other and prompting us to
respond to each other’s needs?

In this course, we will systematically reflect on the nature of
visual images and visuality. We will also examine the role that
photography and other visual technologies have played in shaping
modern understandings of self, nation, and race in the United States
and modern Latin America. Finally, we will develop tools for
analyzing photographic images. By the end of this course, we will
have a deeper understanding of the historical specificity of vision
and of the role of visual images in public cultures.

We will critically read and discuss selections from the writings of
Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Walter Benjamin, Pierre Bourdieu,
Mary Louise Pratt, Alan Trachtenberg, and Deborah Poole. Students
will interpret several historic photographs and write two book
reviews.