Book Review: Doris Derby: A Civil Rights Journey by Doris Derby

Sharecroppers labouring in Mississippi fields. African American women organising cooperatives to support their communities. Members of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The Free Southern Theatre, and the potential for theatre to be a catalyst for change. The centrality of Farish Street to Black life in Jackson, Mississippi. Medical clinics. Schools. Liberty House cooperative. Woodstock. Churches. Houses. Murals. Shootings. Funerals. Speeches. Families. Continue reading

“MATTER IS THE MINIMUM”: Reading Washington, DC’s BLM Memorial Fence

  In the early evening of Monday, 1 June 2020, following a weekend of national protests against the extra-judicial killings of Black people by the police, US federal troops aggressively moved on demonstrators outside the White House in Washington, DC.[1] Using flashbangs and chemical weapons, the US military forced demonstrators… Continue reading

Decomposing and Reconstructing the Marginal: Walker Evans’ Portrait Photography in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

The pictures are for the most part mild, but in spite of this, though always exquisitely clear in reasoning and in visual quality, they pack a wicked punch. There’s nothing oppressively ‘photographic’ here, it isn’t a long nose poking into dirty corners for propaganda and for scandal, there are no… Continue reading

Symposium Panel Review: ‘Visualising the Americas: Kent’s Third Annual Americanist Symposium’, The University of Kent, Keynes College, Monday 3rd June, 2019.

From pre-colonised American Indian art to contemporary graffiti murals, the Americas have a rich and varied visual history. This one-day symposium, co-organised by three PhD candidates at the University of Kent – Ellie Armon Azoulay, Sarah Smeed, and Megan King – invited panellists and speakers to focus on one particular image or object as a catalyst for exploring larger themes, trends and figures. Continue reading

Social Disorder: Publics, 1968, Amateur photography and Vivian Maier

This essay is the fourth in our series, ‘Literature, Visual Imagery and Material Culture in American Studies’. The series seeks to situate literature, visual imagery and material culture at the heart of American studies, and will explore the varying ways in which written and non-written sources have been created, politicised, exploited, and celebrated by the diverse peoples of the United States and beyond. You can find out more information here. Continue reading

‘Let Us March On’: Lee Friedlander’s Civil Rights Photography and the Revolutionary Politics of Childhood Publics

This essay is the second in our series, ‘Literature, Visual Imagery and Material Culture in American Studies’. The series seeks to situate literature, visual imagery and material culture at the heart of American studies, and will explore the varying ways in which written and non-written sources have been created, politicised, exploited, and celebrated by the diverse peoples of the United States and beyond. You can find out more information here. Continue reading

Book Review: Liam Kennedy, Afterimages: Photography and U.S Foreign Policy

The distance between global politics and its mediation to the individual is perhaps as proximal as it has ever been in our current moment, where information technologies and social media reduce the disconnect and render world crises as visible, immediate concerns. Photography, as the most readily-available and instant of all digital visual technologies, sits at the heart of how geopolitics and, specifically, conflict are culturally consumed. Such ideas are brought to the fore in Liam Kennedy’s latest publication Afterimages: Photography and U.S Foreign Policy (2016), in which he recounts American foreign policy, from the Vietnam War to the War on Terror, through the lens of photographic mediation. Continue reading

Review: The Cartographic Imagination: Art, Literature and Mapping in the United States, 1945-1980

University of Kent

Papers were impressively varied in reach and scope, covering landscape photography, the New York art scene, the refugee crisis, and maps of Disneyland. Though focused on the post-war period in the U.S., discussions, it seemed, could not help being drawn towards the present moment. Continue reading