Photography on the Color Line - W. E. B. Du Bois, Race, and Visual Culture

Smith, Shawn Michelle

Published by Duke Univ
ISBN 10: 0822333317 / ISBN 13: 9780822333319
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Synopsis: Through a rich interpretation of the remarkable photographs W. E. B. Du Bois compiled for the American Negro Exhibit at the 1900 Paris Exposition, Shawn Michelle Smith reveals the visual dimension of the color line that Du Bois famously called “the problem of the twentieth century.” Du Bois’s prize-winning exhibit consisted of three albums together containing 363 black-and-white photographs, mostly of middle-class African Americans from Atlanta and other parts of Georgia. Smith provides an extensive analysis of the images, the antiracist message Du Bois conveyed by collecting and displaying them, and their connection to his critical thought. She contends that Du Bois was an early visual theorist of race and racism and demonstrates how such an understanding makes the important concepts he developed—including double consciousness, the color line, the Veil, and second sight—available to visual culture and African American studies scholars in powerful new ways.

Smith reads Du Bois’s photographs in relation to other turn-of-the-century images such as scientific typologies, criminal mugshots, racist caricatures, and lynching photographs. By juxtaposing these images with reproductions from Du Bois’s exhibition archive, Smith shows how Du Bois deliberately challenged racist representations of African Americans. Emphasizing the importance of comparing multiple visual archives, Photography on the Color Line reinvigorates understandings of the stakes of representation and the fundamental connections between race and visual culture in the United States.

From the Back Cover: ""Photography on the Color Line" should be widely read and widely taught. In this outstanding book, Shawn Michelle Smith has offered not only a spirited reading of a historically important group of photographs but also a methodology and theoretical grounding that are widely applicable even beyond the specific archive of the Du Bois photographs."--Laura Wexler, author of "Tender Violence: Domestic Visions in an Age of U.S. Imperialism"

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Title: Photography on the Color Line - W. E. B. Du ...
Publisher: Duke Univ
Book Condition: BRAND NEW

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Book Description Duke University Press,, Durham, N.C. & London, 2004. Cloth. Book Condition: Fine. xviii + 226 p. + 24 plates; 60 additional ill. in text. Study of the role of photography in DuBois' work, with introductory chapter on the 363 photographs included in the American Negro Exhibit at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1900. Includes section on Atlanta African-American studio photographer Thomas Askew (active 1866-1917), p. 65-76 and 12 of his photographs. Bibliography, p. 203-216. Bookseller Inventory # 021948

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