gillian rose, excerpts from doing family photography (this is a little on the long side, so take that into consideration. if you find yourself strapped for time, you can cut out the last chapter (i.e., the last 16 pages, although there is interesting stuff here about “publics” that could be worth your time, if you are interested in such things).)
- jonas larson, “families seen sightseeing” performativity of tourist photography
- sean smith, “instagram abroad: performance, consumption and colonial narrative in tourism”
- john boy (!!!) and justus uitermark, “capture and share the city: mapping instagram’s uneven geography in tourist amsterdam“
- jan gehl and brigitte svarre, how to study public life (this looks longer than it actually is — normally copies are 2 pages/page, but this is only 1 page/page, and about 1/2 are pictures, but it gives a good overview of methods for studying)
- what kinds of space?
- krase and shortell, “on the spatial semiotics of vernacular landscapes in global cities“
- william whyte did a project in the late 70s in NYC about effective public spaces. he wrote a book and made a documentary. unfortunately, the doc has been taken offline, but here’s a clip that gets at one his main point: public spaces work best when they allow for social interaction and remaking of the space. thus, the importance of the moveable chair. (2 min video — here’s a more recent news item that discusses the idea).
today we think about the public and the various forms of gender privilege that define who belongs where, and how photography is being used to push back on that privilege….
- jane, “dude…stop the spread“
- desborough, “the global anti-street harassment movement”
more: in case you…. want it?
- drought-shaming (for the californians out there!) : https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1472586X.2016.1246952
- more shaming of manspreading/dixpix: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14680777.2018.1450351
the point is to think about the camera as a weapon in creating and defending alternative versions of public/shared spaces, especially around issues of gender/sexuality (droughts notwithstanding). or if we want to be more abstract in our sociology, we could consider tactics/strategies for developing and enforcing new norms.
monday we will discuss the 2nd assignment in more details, but some quick things to keep in mind if you want an early start (and who doesn’t?)
- format is similar to the last “photo essay” (but you can play with this if you like — if you prefer/feel more comfortable with “essay with photos” format, then go ahead. if you want an extended analysis of a single image, that’s cool, too.)
- the former constraints (middlebury and identity) have been relaxed — anything goes! some of you will like this (finally, a chance to do what i *really* want!), some of you will not (whatever will i do!??!?). if you are in the latter camp, feel free to talk to me, as i am happy to provide guidance.
- last time, outside (or inside, if you want to call class readings that) sources was encouraged but not required. this time, you need to bring in some sources. at least 3 (three), in fact. i’m happy to suggest some if you are at a loss. i am also happy to direct you to a giant building called the library. (i hear they even have a website!!!!)
- when is it due? april 23, at 8.48 pm. no more middfiles nonsense. this time just simple, easy email. (but don’t forget to shrink your files, so they aren’t 30 MB. thanks!)
anythings else? yep! don’t forget to keep sending images based on the readings. only 10 more meetings to go!
a classic bit of old skool visual sociology:
erving goffman, gender advertisements
[warning: this is the entire book, which makes it look really, really long. it is, in fact, not that long, in terms of reading, since there are a lot of pictures of advertisements. thus, your plan should be to read the opening chapters (pp 1-27 in the book, which are pp 13-39 in the pdf) and to get a sense of the seven themes he identifies (they are helpfully listed in the table of contents, with a page referring you to the initial definition, and then leading to some photos. “licensed withdrawal” is given the wrong page number — it actually starts on p. 57). so even if you are hard copy sort of person, reading this online is probably a better bet.]
the reason for offering the entire thing, even if you don’t necessarily look at all of the specific advertisements, or if you think it is too dated (is it?), is to give you a sense of a different model for organizing and presenting visual research. as well as this being a fairly early “classic” in the field…
if you’re sick of white supremacists (and who isn’t?), stop now. but here are a couple of supplementary texts exploring the role of memes and irony for the spread of racist ideas.
- “nazis have always been trolls“
- “ironic nazis are still nazis“
- “how the christchurch killer used memes to spread hate”
and in a totally different form of meme news, here’s a story about how someone’s (flavia dzodan, who you should totally be following on twitter) statement got turned into a meme/slogan, that was then commodified/spread, but she never got any of the profits.
- de chistofaro “memes are taking the alt-right’s message of hate mainstream“:
- in case you’re interested, some background on the work the authors of the above case are doing
- jessie daniels, “the algorithmic rise of the ‘alt-right‘”
- another, related piece by daniels, if interested in such things, but otherwise, skip: “twitter and white supremacy: a love story“
- general meme theory: shifman, “the cultural logic of photo-based meme genres“
- how do nazis get represented in the ny times? read this.
- related (if you want a historian’s take), this op-ed from the ny times(!), “white-collar supremacy”
- on the other hand, what about self representation? here’s a quick take by sociologist lisa wade, “signaling white supremacy and provoking racist backlash”
maybe this will remain empty, or maybe i will fill it up as i procrastinate instead of reading your fabulous essays.
- rachel smyne: “selfie: the revolutionary potential of your own face, in 7 chapters” (estimated 57 minute read!!! definitely for travel time…)
- please be sure to keep the size of your final essay from ballooning up to gigantibytastic sizes, which is easy to do when you start using photographs. there’s lots of ways to shrink file size of photos individually (such lowering the quality/resolution in your photo storage program), but you can also handle this at the document level. for example, the sample essay i shared in class was put together in powerpoint and was 65MB when all was said and done. but if you go the file tab, you’ll find the option to “reduce file size” and depending on your choice, you can drop the size tremendously — my document dropped to 2 MB and then saving it as a pdf cut it in half again.
- please submit the assignment in the following way: in an effort to avoid having a lot of emails with still relatively large attachments drop in my email inbox all at once, i’m asking you that you upload your document to the course shared dropbox on middfiles. don’t know how to get to middfiles? here’s some help.
- please give your documentS (essay and evaluation separate) a name that identifies the author(s) in some way (i.e., not just “dumb_class_assigment1.pdf, but rather linus_dumb_class_assignment1.pdf)
- please submit as a pdf document
- don’t forget to have a title, to have a thesis (and an argument!), a reference list, and SEPARATE evaluation.
- bell hooks, “in our glory: photography and black life”
- chrstian walker, “gazing colored”
- mkcfadden, “teaching the camera to see my skin” [if you want to see this argument in video form, you can find an example here: estelle caswell, “color film was built for white people”]
- aja romano on vine and black social media (just to give a more contemporary example)
these are all pretty short, so even though you have something due today, it won’t be too much of a burden for you to do the readings for class, right? think about the way “representation” “normal” and “culture” [not to mention “race”] are working through these texts. enjoy!
BREAKING NEWS! THE DEADLINE FOR THE FIRST ASSIGNMENT HAS BEEN MOVED TO 11:59pm WEDNESDAY MARCH 20. THE BEGINNING OF MY WEEK IS SHAPING UP TO BE SUPER BUSY SO I WILL NOT HAVE ANY TIME TO LOOK AT YOUR WORK. THUS IT SEEMS SILLY TO FORCE YOU TO TURN SOMETHING IN THAT WILL SIT IDLY BY FOR DAYS. THIS IS A 48 HOUR AND 2 MINUTE EXTENSION. IF YOU WILL BE DONE BY THE ORIGINAL DUE DATE, THAT’S FINE! TURN IT IN AND LIFE GOES ON AS USUAL. THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING.
content warnings! tread lightly, please.
- noble, “Critical Surveillance Literacy in Social Media:Interrogating Black Death and Dying Online”
- smith, “videos of police killings are numbing us to reality of black death” (a journalistic take on the issue, here if you want to read it/as reference, but ignore if you’re busy (you’re busy, right?))
- raiford, “photography and the practices of critical black memory” (discussing the role of photography in circulating dominant and critical responses to lynching)
- wood, “the spectacle of lynching” [a more straightforward discussion of history of lynching and photography. you won’t read it, but it’s here if you are interested]
- anderson, “when a lynching memorial becomes a photo opportunity” (shortish piece on the recently opened lynching memorial)
- “veganism has a serious race problem” [[read this if you want, but you can get the gist from the header image and the title. it considers the effects of appropriating the visuals/discourses of lynching]]
even more extraneous stuff that you will never, ever read, but which is related and interesting, so it’s going to be included, whether it ever gets read or not. [please note that even the list above includes extra stuff crammed into the sub-bullet points, so i am really not trying to overwork you, especially since you have work due this week.]
first things first: you can find the copy of the first assignment and the “sample” at this link (“assignments” above)
- “when colleges seek diversity through photoshop“
- stevens, creating a class: college admissions and educating elites chapter 5: race [currently having trouble uploading it, but will fix soon] (update: AAAAAHHHH! the file won’t work, and i doubt i will have time to figure out what the problem is, nor will you have time to read it. but it is available as an e-book in the library, and if you want to know how these things work, it’s a good overview (the study was done at hamilton, but current director of admissions at middlebury says this book’s version is the closest to our own that you might find in all the studies out there.))
- the above chapter is a quick read but it is 44 pages, so if you don’t want to read so much (you’re busy!) (and now that it’s DOA), this from a different project tells a related story about how talk of diversity undercuts actual efforts to deal with racism. succinctly.
THIS WEEK IS ABOUT REPRESENTING RACE/RACISM/DIVERSITY/ETC. SO YOUR 2ND BATCH OF READINGS ARE AS FOLLOWS: (they are short!)
- national geographic: 1) these twins will make you rethink race and 2) for decades our coverage was racist
- victor ray (sociologist!) responds: “national geographic acknowledges its racist past, then steps on its message with its cover photo” (if you can’t access b/c of subscription issues, here’s a pdf (sans images))
stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop. stop.
following up on day one discussion of blackface and yearbooks (and in honor of the yearbook fotos being taken right across the hall from class (ps. i bet that is an interesting place/space of identity construction!)), here are a few links:
- USA today reviews 900 yearbooks for racist images. spoiler alert: they found some!
- of course, yearbooks also document other issues, such as campus protest and anti-racist progress. “beyond blackface”
- this is not just an issue from yesteryear. blackface at UTennessee. [in an effort to bring this full circle, notice the framing in terms of college/student diversity]
- protest going on this week at sarah lawrence about racism on campus and failure of “diversity” efforts. follow on tweeter!
- AND, of course, in this day and age (and all days and all ages), it is not just about photo selection as discussed in class, but also how the photos are manipulated. here’s a classic example of OJ Simpson, while here’s an example that popped up on twitter Monday about Fox News altering an image
- entman & rojecki, the black image in the white mind [[note: this is the entire freaking book! don’t read all of it. just read chapter 5, “violence, stereotypes, and african americans in the news” pp. 78-93]]
- gross, “#iftheygunnedmedown: the double consciousness of black youth in response to oppressive media” link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10999949.2018.1441587?scroll=top&needAccess=true
excessive stuff below. ignore at your pleasure
- nytimes: “shooting spurs hashtag effort on stereotypes”
- npr: “behind a twitter campaign, a multitude of stories”
- (the tumblr version of the campaign)
- noble, “teaching trayvon” https://safiyaunoble.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/teaching_trayvon__race__media_noble.pdf
- this is “extra” but short and related, so here it is: sandra bland’s face
- sociologists get into the mix. (and a related issue)
- another academic piece on the campaign. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1532708616634836
- if you want to read more about the issues discussed in the intro to the TMC piece from last week, here’s a new article linking recent events to the history of slavery and policing: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/03/06/policing-black-americans-is-long-standing-ugly-american-tradition
- if you are interested in the role of visual representations, news about crime, and racial stereotypes, there are lots of things you could read. (but don’t, because this is extra, and no one does extra work!). like this: “framing news stories“; “the face of the crime“; “the portrayal of race and crime on tv network news” nothing too exciting here, but it’s here.
- critique of FBI’s forensic photo analysis: https://www.propublica.org/article/with-photo-analysis-fbi-lab-continues-shaky-forensic-science-practices
- on a completely unrelated note, but nevertheless of interest to the class topics of photographs and identity: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/03/07/hipsters-all-look-same-man-inadvertently-confirms
- janning, “from childhood to adulthood: stuffed animals, blankets and wall posters” [or the sociology of dorm room decorating…]
- tressie mcmillan cottom, the price of fabulousness
- domaneschi, “Brand New Consumers: A Social Practice Approach to Young Immigrants Coping with Material Culture in Italy“
extra stuff you will never read in a million years is safely separated and placed below this box.
- belk “possessions and the extended self” (a bit of a classic (i.e, “old”) piece on the relation between what we have and who we are)
- penaloza, “Just Doing It: A Visual Ethnographic Study of Spectacular Consumption Behavior at Nike Town” [[this is kind of long (even when you factor in the images) so it’s a good thing you don’t have to read it! it looks at the material culture of shopping as not just the objects we buy. interesting, if you find that kind of stuff interesting]]
- hu, et al. “Resisting immigrant myths: everyday consumer practices of Asian immigrants in America” (a different immigrant consumption story)
jon wagner, “seeing things”
here are some of the art projects that explore material culture/stuff, which you can explore if you so desire….
- rania matar, a girl and her room
- lauren greenfield, generation wealth (good bibliography at the bottom! — she also has other interesting projects, like girl culture and kids + money)
- adrienne salinger, teenager (no direct link, but easy enough to find. as a collector of teeth and tooth accessories, i also recommend the “tooth” series…)
- peter manzel, “material world: a global family portrait” (there’s a lot here, but the most famous of his work is where he has families take all their possessions out of their home and pose with them outside of it: here’s the US example, and here’s the south africa example.
let’s look at how selfies are used by individuals and groups to reclaim/remake identity…
- wortham, “on instagram, seeing between the gender line” (ny times article, so not so academicky) [related: “portraits of america’s genderqueer community” — here just to be here, not because you have to look at it.]
- ferreday, “like a stone in your stomach: articulating the unspeakable in rape victim-survivors’ activist selfies” (cw: sexual violence) [a link to the case she discusses if you want to see it yourself: project unbreakable (cw: images of abuse)]
- warfield, “mirrorcameraroom: the gendered multi-instabilities of the selfie” (this one is kind of theoretically dense (or, “exciting”) but has some interesting ideas (“glitch feminism”) as well as a different methodology, so worth your time, but if you are short of time, then definitely read the first two and leave this for another day.) [[if you want to watch/listen to her give a 40minute presentation on why selfies are great, you can watch here. if not, you can ignore]]
anything below is not to be read under any circumstances (unless you’re interested in that sort of thing…)
- selfies and body dysmorphia — problem or moral panic?
- this is a good piece on queer/trans visibility and selfies/social media, but it may be too much reading for today (so i used the nytimes piece instead). still if you want to look at social research on the topic, this is a recent example.
- A couple more defenses of the politics of selfies (short and not academic, so quick reads): #feministselfie reinforces why selfies are empowering;
the sexist backlash against selfies
- kunstman “whose selfie citizenship?” (this is the intro to the book that the ferreday pieces comes from. it’s short, but provides a broad overview of a lot of different examples of political uses of selfies, if you might find that kind of thing worth looking into….)
- jill rettberg: seeing ourselves through technology: how we use selfies, blogs, and wearable devices to see and shape ourselves
this is a link to the entire book, which you don’t have to read (but you can!). instead, definitely read chapter 3, “serial selfies” and, if you feel like it (which you probably won’t because you already think this is too much reading!), chapter 4 “automated diaries” –both are interesting as identity projects and data sources.
- t. senft “mirocelebrity and the branded self”
- veum and undrum, “the selfie as global discourse”
[[if social science takes on identity are not clear for you, here’s a pretty helpful primer on the issues of identity. you can skim if you like.]]
below is stuff that is not required, but which is nevertheless included here for some unknown reason…
one last day of exploring our options. so many! so exciting!
- photovoice: caroline wang and mary ann burris, “photovoice: concept, application, and use for participatory needs assessment”
- photo essay: luc pauwels, “conceptualizing the visual essay“
- interactive documentary: paolo favero, “getting our hands dirty (again): interactive documentaries and the meaning of images in the digital age”
some examples of each, if you want to explore what these look like in practice. (suggested, but not required, but it’s good to look at examples of the work)
- photo voice — in honor of the 1-year anniversary of the parkland massacre, scenes from a protest. OR, in honor of our current “national emergency”: “this is what it looks like for kids traveling in the caravan“
- photo essay — roman williams, “religion, migration, and change in a european city” (more can be found here, if interested)
- interactive doc — highrise — out my window
if you are at a loss as to what to send your humble teacher, another image option could be to grab something from one of the above examples and engage with it (how it works, doesn’t work, what’s there, what’s missing, why it’s compelling data, why it might not be….) — that is, if there’s something from the readings/examples that you want to talk more about in class, this is your chance to possibly make that happen…
what does it mean to do visual methods? here’s a nice overview by sarah pink, visual anthropologist, about various methodological options available, as well as some ethical points of concern.
also, if you like everything laid out in chart form, here’s a table categorizing the vast array of options taken from luc pauwels’s book.
let’s start with some basic introductions to the field — what visual sociology is, and how to start doing it.
1) john grady, “becoming a visual sociologist”
this is a handy, dandy 12-point list of how to become a visual sociologist. while the entire piece is well worth reading, the first 6 steps are most important (as the last 6 refer more to those who are already professional sociologists). even though 6 is half of 12, those first 6 do take up the bulk of the essay. “becoming a visual sociologist”
2) richard chalfin, “looking two ways”
this is a good introduction taking a somewhat different perspective than the above, playing off the dual meaning of “how people look”: “study of visual culture”
we referenced this article by Howard Becker, which you can see in full here, if interested.
(a longer piece, sociology and photography, can be found here.)