American Studies 2001: Introduction to American Studies

Home > Unit V: Race and Photography

Unit V: Race and Photography

Key Concepts: Visibility, Race, Documentary, Violence, Internment

Monday, October 30

Topic: Visual Orders: Frederick Douglass and the Intersection of Race and Photography in Mid-Nineteenth Century America

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., “Frederick Douglass’s Camera Obscura: Representing the Anti-Slave ‘Clothed and in Their Own Form,’” in Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American (2015); and Frederick Douglass, “Pictures and Progress,” (1861)

Wednesday, November 1

Topic: Lynching Photography

Assignment: Hale, “Deadly Amusements: Spectacle Lynchings and the Contradictions of Segregation as Culture” from Making Whiteness (1998); lynching photographs


Monday, November 6

Topic: Photographing Japanese Internment

Assignment:  Elena Tajima Creef, “The Representation of the Japanese American Body in the Documentary Photography of Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and Toyo Miyatake” in Imaging Japanese America (2004); internment photographs by Adams (1944), Lange (1942), and Miyatake (1943-44)

Wednesday, November 8

Topic: Photography and the Civil Rights Movement

Assignment: Leigh Raiford, "Come Let Us Build a New World Together": SNCC and Photography of the Civil Rights Movement,” American Quarterly 59:4 (December 2007); civil rights photographs