Been away for a weekend and caught up on some reading that I’ll be blogging about here shortly. As an indication of blog posts to come, the books I finished reading most recently both deal with racism in visual media, from the perspective of different eras.
The first is Black, White and in Color (Princeton University Press, 2003) by Sasha Torres. Torres takes on the way the civil rights movement both used and was used by television to counter forces of racism during the civil rights era; then, takes another look at the more recent version of racism displayed on tv in the form of the Rodney King video. Interesting, compelling stuff that has me thinking and about which I’ll have more to say.
And, the second book is Photography on the Color Line: W. E. B. Du Bois, Race, and Visual Culture, (Duke University Press, 2004) by Shawn Michelle Smith (seriously cool site, btw). Smith explores up the photographic exhibit that W.E.B. Du Bois put together for the Paris Exhibit in 1900 as a response to the scientific racism and propaganda of that era, much of it which relied upon photographic “evidence.” Smith also includes a chapter on lynching photographs (which she expands in later work) that focuses the representation of white people in the photographs.
Like most of my favorite books, these raise questions as well as offer answers and analysis. More to follow on each of these, and I hope to raise some questions of my own about how these inform the current, digital era.