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Picturing China in the American Press: The Visual Portrayal of Sino-American Relations in Time Magazine (Lexington Studies in Political Communication)

ISBN-13: 978-0739118191
ISBN-10: 0739118196
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Editorial Reviews

Review

The primacy of imagery is one of the defining attributes of the post-modern world. This is particularly true in media coverage of foreign events and issues in remote settings. No country has frightened and fascinated Americans more than China in times ofcrisis and peace when the images of its panic-stricken soldiers crossing the Chinese-North Korean border and the massive hysterical crowds waving a little red book across the country appeared in the U.S. media. A top-notch scholar in the field of visual communication, Perlmutter captures in a painstaking fashion the changing faces of China that has intrigued Americans, both officials and civilians alike, for decades. This book adds a unique and perceptive dimension to our understanding of the love-hate relationship between the United States and China that spans more than 100 years. It is a significant contribution to Sino-American studies and visual communication research.. (Tsan-Kuo Chang, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)

An insightful and invaluable prism through which to view these two superpowers. Must-reading in the East and West. (David Heenan, University of Hawaii)

In Picturing China in the American Press, David Perlmutter reveals how images―specifically images of China published by Time Magazine in the mid-20th century―shape public perception and thus foreign policy in a democracy. This work will be especially valuable to students of mass media, Sino-American relations, and international politics. Just at the 'CNN effect'―i.e., live video images of international crises―influences U.S. foreign policy today, the images and captions presented by the Henry Luce media empire profoundly shaped the U.S. approach to China before World War II, during the Japanese occupation, throughout the Nationalist-Communist civil war, and finally during the Mao Zedong years. (John Yemma, deputy managing editor, Boston Globe)

Picturing China in the American Press is a detailed and comprehensive analysis of how our most influential newsmagazine visually framed China during key years of Sino-U.S. relations. It goes beyond superficial content-analysis to integrate the 'how' and 'why' of understanding the American imagination of China. It stands apart as both an excellent historical study and example of outstanding visual research. (Melvin L. DeFleur, Distiguished Professor, Louisiana State University)

Studying the role and impact of visual images in the mass media is deceptively challenging. How do we reconcile the apparently autonomous power of images to frame and condense persuasive concepts and messages with their frequent appearance as passive and malleable ancillaries to verbal rhetoric in specific historical circumstances? In Picturing China in the American Press Perlmutter provides a model for understanding the shifting influence of pictures within thick nests of historical, cultural and political context. In this exemplary case study of the influence of Time magazine's visualization of China on Sino-American relations, he shows us the real symbolic power of the visual to iterate enduring concepts in public perception and political relations, while demonstrating that this power can only be understood as a specific historical effect. (Michael Griffin, visiting professor, Carleton College)

In Picturing China, David D. Perlmutter tells the intriguing story of how visual messages within the pages of Time magazine shaped public opinion about China. His conclusion is unmistakable and vital for today's politicians, journalists, and scholars to understand: A deceptive 'first draft of history' takes at least 30 years to correct by an able and thoughtful historian. (Paul Martin Lester, California State University, Fullerton)

The primacy of imagery is one of the defining attributes of the post-modern world. This is particularly true in media coverage of foreign events and issues in remote settings. No country has frightened and fascinated Americans more than China in times of crisis and peace when the images of its panic-stricken soldiers crossing the Chinese-North Korean border and the massive hysterical crowds waving a little red book across the country appeared in the U.S. media. A top-notch scholar in the field of visual communication, Perlmutter captures in a painstaking fashion the changing faces of China that has intrigued Americans, both officials and civilians alike, for decades. This book adds a unique and perceptive dimension to our understanding of the love-hate relationship between the United States and China that spans more than 100 years. It is a significant contribution toSino-American studies and visual communication research. (Tsan-Kuo Chang, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)

This book has provided more an intricate historical account of Sino-American relationship in the mid-1900s than a historical analysis of the uses of images related to China carried in the Time Magazine in the same historical period though both excel in the book. Since the author has dug deep into rich historical data and presented the data from today's perspective, to me, his historical account reads like news and his historical analysis reads like an editorial column hot off today's Time magazine. (Edgar Huang, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis)

With this book, Perlmutter fosters understanding of how visual images can be used to manipulate public opinion and shape foreign policies. Recommended. (CHOICE)

Picturing China in the American Press will give scholars and students a vivid and rewarding look at nation building...no less important than the contruction of institutions and processes of governance and statecraft. In picturing China as dragon or panda, Time gave American audiences compellingly reductive fictions by which to live, dream, vote, and fight. (H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online, November 2007)

offers a fascinating analysis. (CBQ)

About the Author

David D. Perlmutter is professor and associate dean for graduate studies and research in the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications at the University of Kansas. A documentary photographer, he is the author of three books and the editor of a fourth on war, politics, visual images, new media, and public opinion: Photojournalism and Foreign Policy: Framing Icons of Outrage in International Crises (Greenwood, 1998);Visions of War: Picturing Warfare from the Stone Age to the Cyberage (St. Martin's, 1999); (ed.) Guide to Political Communication (LSU Press, 1999); Policing the Media: Street Cops and Public Perceptions of Law Enforcement (Sage, 2000).
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