Sight Unseen Whiteness and American Visual Culture

ISBN-10: 0520244591
ISBN-13: 9780520244597
Edition: 2005
Authors: Martin A. Berger
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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  More...

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Book details

List price: $85.00
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 11/3/2005
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 252
Size: 7.25" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 2.002
Language: English

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 European Americans 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.

Martin A. Bergeris Professor and Director of the Visual Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author ofMan Made: Thomas Eakins and the Construction of Gilded Age ManhoodandSight Unseen: Whiteness and American Visual Culture, both from UC Press.David J. Garrowis the author ofBearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction: White Like Me
Genre Painting and the Foundations of Modern Race
Landscape Photography and the White Gaze
Museum Architecture and the Imperialism of Whiteness
Silent Cinema and the Gradations of Whiteness Epilogue: The Triumph of Racialized Thought
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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