Why do we look at lynching photographs? What is the basis for our curiosity, rage, indignation, or revulsion? Beginning in the late nineteenth century, nearly five thousand blacks were put to death at the hands of lynch mobs throughout America. In many communities it was a public event, to be witnessed, recorded, and made available by means of photographs. In this book, the art historian Dora Apel and the American Studies scholar Shawn Michelle Smith examine lynching photographs as a way of analyzing photography's historical role in promoting and resisting racial violence. They further suggest how these photographs continue to affect the politics of spectatorship. In clear prose, and with carefully chosen images, the authors chart the history of lynching photographs—their meanings, uses, and controversial display—and offer terms in which to understand our responsibilities as viewers and citizens.
- Amazon Sales Rank: #664934 in Books
- Published on: 2008-01-05
- Original language:
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 9.02" h x
.23" w x
- Binding: Paperback
- 110 pages
From the Inside Flap
"A lucid, smart, engaging, and accessible introduction to the impact of lynching photography on the history of race and violence in America. "—Grace Elizabeth Hale, author of Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in America, 1890-1940
"With admirable courage, Dora Apel and Shawn Michelle Smith examine lynching photographs that are horrifying, shameful, and elusive; with admirable sensitivity they help us delve into the meaning and legacy of these difficult images. They show us how the images change when viewed from different perspectives, they reveal how the photographs have continued to affect popular culture and political debates, and they delineate how the pictures produce a dialectic of shame and atonement."—Ashraf H. A. Rushdy, author of Neo-Slave Narratives and Remembering Generations
"This thoughtful and engaging book offers a highly accessible yet theoretically sophisticated discussion of a painful, complicated, and unavoidable subject. Apel and Smith, employing complementary (and sometimes overlapping) methodological approaches to reading these images, impress upon us how inextricable photography and lynching are, and how we cannot comprehend lynching without making sense of its photographic representations."—Leigh Raiford, co-editor of The Civil Rights Movement in American Memory
"Our newspapers have recently been filled with photographs of mutilated, tortured bodies from both war fronts and domestic arenas. How do we understand such photographs? Why do people take them? Why do we look at them? The two essays by Apel and Smith address photographs of lynching, but their analysis can be applied to a broader spectrum of images presenting ritual or spectacle killings."—Frances Pohl, author of Framing America: A Social History of American Art
About the Author
Dora Apel is Associate Professor and W. Hawkins Ferry Chair in Modern and Contemporary Art at Wayne State University. She is the author of Memory Effects: The Holocaust and the Art of Secondary Witnessing (2002) and Imagery of Lynching: Black Men, White Women, and the Mob (2004). Shawn Michelle Smith is Associate Professor of Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the author of American Archives: Gender, Race, and Class in Visual Culture (1999) and Photography on the Color Line: W.E.B. DuBois, Race, and Visual Culture (2004).
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
HAPPY WHITE PEOPLE
If you want to know what made white people feel good and joyful look at the smiling faces of white people in this book, page 60, page 48, page33, pages 21 & 22, page 72, and last but not least page 63, these lynching photographs of black men should be placed inside of every American History book used by school children and teenagers from elementary school onto high school, this is part of American History.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
By Steven G. Smith
This book is a sobering reminder of a not so distant American past. This shows the brutality and violence that was lynching. Lynching was the number one fear of every African American at one time in America and to this day a very ugly reminder that race relations in this country have been predicated on fear, violence and ignorance. This book was helpful when I wrote a term paper on LYNCHING AND VIOLENCE AGAINST AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY. I earned a A on that paper from a Professor who studied under Woodrow Wilson's history instructor at University of Pacific. He is really old school and I came with the facts.
**RECOMMENDED FOR African American studies majors, Sociology majors and Race Relations studies as well as Political Science.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
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Gruesome but telling. This book should be thrust in ...
By Wesley Horton
Gruesome but telling. This book should be thrust in the face of any punk that complains about "Microagressions" and wanting a "Safe zone" at college.
Shows the real struggle blacks endured up until the 1920's.