Whiteness and American Visual Culture
By (author) Martin A. Berger
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Sight Unseen by Martin A. Berger
Book Description"Sight Unseen" explores how racial identity guides the interpretation of the visual world. Through a nimble analysis of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century paintings, photographs, museums, and early motion pictures, Martin A. Berger illustrates how a shared investment in whiteness invisibly guides what Americans of European descent see, what they accept as true, and, ultimately, what legal, social, and economic policies they enact. Carefully reconstructing the racial and philosophical contexts of selected artworks that contain no narrative links to race, the author exposes the effects of racial thinking on our interpretation of the visual world.Bucolic genre paintings of white farmers, pristine landscape photographs of the western frontier, monumental civic architecture, and early action films provide case studies for investigating how European-American sight became inextricably bound to the racial values of American society. Berger shows how artworks are more significant for confirming internalized beliefs on race, than they are for selling us on racial values we do not yet own. A significant contribution to the growing field of whiteness studies, this accessible, provocative, and compelling book exposes how something as apparently natural as sight is conditioned by the racial values of society.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780520244597
(229mm x 178mm x 22mm)
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 7-Oct-2005
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Martin A. Berger
Freedom Now!, Hardback (January 2014)
Photographers shot millions of pictures of the black civil rights struggle between the close of World War II and the early 1970s, yet most Americans today can recall only a handful of searing images. This title offers alternative photographs of the era that challenge the stories told in many of the famous scenes.
Seeing Through Race, Paperback (April 2011)
A reinterpretation of the iconic photographs of the black civil rights struggle. It shows how the very pictures credited with arousing white sympathy, and thereby paving the way for civil rights legislation, actually limited the scope of racial reform in the 1960s.
Man Made, Paperback (August 2000)» View all books by Martin A. Berger
This work discusses the life and work of Thomas Eakins, illustrating how he used his canvasses to cope with the complex requirements of Victorian gender. The author analyzes a range of Eakins paintings and offers an examination of Eakin's portrayal of white, middle class manhood.
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Author Biography - Martin A. Berger
Martin A. Berger is Associate Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of Man Made: Thomas Eakins and the Construction of Gilded Age Manhood (California, 2000).
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