- Series: Interfaces: Studies in Visual Culture
- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Dartmouth (May 14, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1584659742
- ISBN-13: 978-1584659747
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,894,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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On the Sleeve of the Visual: Race as Face Value (Interfaces: Studies in Visual Culture) Paperback – May 14, 2013
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“Raengo forges a critical encounter between vanguard African American visual culture and the most searching modes of critical race and visual theory. The result is an explosive work that envisions new histories of African American visuality and opens new lines for rethinking the African American avant-garde. Elegantly written, supply argued, and searingly illuminating.” (Akira Mizuta Lippit, author of Ex-Cinema: From a Theory of Experimental Film and Video)
“For years scholars have attempted to dismantle the connection between the visual and the black racial subject. With this book, Raengo succeeds in giving blackness its proper ontology. She utilizes the science of the photograph and the machinery of capital to give us a body mired in something more than its surface. This is groundbreaking work and a must-read.” (Sharon P. Holland, Duke University)
“If slavery ensured the turning of persons into commodities, then ‘blackness’ carries the burden of this history into the optical field. Raengo narrates the story of visual culture and race, rigorously historicized in a series of lively, original engagements with racial phantasmagoria, with a freshness and nuance that are radically illuminating.” (Bishnupriya Ghosh, University of California, Santa Barbara)
“In its dialogue between the theoretical and the textual, Raengo presents new avenues of approaching and understanding the ways in which historical constructions of race structure how we see and engage with the world around us.” (Paula J. Massood, Brooklyn College, CUNY)
About the Author
ALESSANDRA RAENGO is an assistant professor of moving image studies in the Department of Communications at Georgia State University.
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Another chapter discusses appearance versus reality, using the movie Precious as an example. The movie itself tries to get the audience to see beyond the overweight teenager and her troll of a mother, perhaps to show how and why they are so beaten down by life. The actress Gabourey Sidibe made it onto the cover of Ebony, but not Vanity Fair, and Raengo points out the same thing with the actor in The Blind Side, so maybe Hollywood has a prejudice against overweight people? On the flip side, size does make a positive difference in The Blind Side, because the character’s size makes him an asset on the football field. But in Precious, the character’s immense size has no redeeming value. Does this tell us something about society’s view on gender body image?
In the chapter The Money of the Real, Raengo displays a picture postcard from the 1860’s of emancipated slaves. In the front row, the children stand in Napoleonic poses with their hands in their jackets (or maybe just to keep themselves steady during the long exposures.) Three of the children are light enough to pass for White, but the men and women in the back row are dark-skinned. Was the photo part of a ploy for donations to the school they attended? Was the children’s light skin supposed to be the abolitionists’ idea of progress?
Kara Walker’s violent silhouettes, Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, and the lynching photos of the early 20th century, all convey the changing attitudes towards race, particularly in how it’s portrayed in art. Allessandra Raengo’s book explored race in the visual arts of the USA, with well-researched sources and scholarly discussions.