photo and dream

Topics: African American, White American, United States Pages: 6 (2262 words) Published: September 1, 2014
AMST 3010 Fall 2014
Tuesday & Thursday 11:40-12:55
Lincoln Hall Room 107

Photography and The American Dream
Professor: Bill Gaskins gaskins@cornell.edu
Office Hours Tuesday 3-5PM
221E Tjaden Hall
Who are ‘the poor’ in the United States? Who are the largest recipients of federal welfare and entitlement spending? Why is there an unprecedented, simultaneous and dramatic increase in wealth and poverty in the United States at this point in its history? What role does photography play in our understanding and misunderstanding of poverty in what many proclaim the greatest country in the world? In this course we will explore the intersection of photojournalism, the reader/viewer and their roles in the perceptions and persistence of poverty in the United States. In this course students will explore the myths and realities of “The American Dream” through a reading and analysis of photojournalistic representations of poverty that appear in contemporary editions of The New York Times, New York Daily News, and USAToday. Moreover, the course will consider key moments in the reportage of poverty in the United States through television, cinema, magazines, politics and popular culture. Through the collection of the Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University Libraries and other primary sources of visual culture, the course will engage with the complexities and contradictions of poverty. The capstone of this course will be a public exhibition and discussion of the editorial content of the newspapers and what they reveal to the students. Required Readings

The photograph is an interdisciplinary document that requires an interdisciplinary approach to its production and reception. In this course, interdisciplinary means that history, culture, politics and ideological agendas must be accounted for when making, viewing and interpreting photographs. This list of texts are required readings to expand your perspective on the issues impacting the topics of the course, to bring depth to your analysis of the images and texts driving each assignment, and to challenge the views and positions you may presently hold in the matter of poverty in the United States. The more use you make of these and other essays in your discussion and analysis of the photographs you present, the higher the quality of your analysis and the higher your grades will be. Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the United States (Chapter Two “Drawing the Color Line”) Kindle Walter Lippmann, “The Nature of News” from Public Opinion Tim Wise, Preface to Color Blind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat From Racial Equity Kindle Andrew Hacker, “Two Nations: Black, White, Separate, Hostile & Unequal (“Inferiority vs. Equality”) Kindle Lani Guinier, “The Meritocracy Myth” (an interview with the author) James Guimond, “Dreams & Documents” from American Photography and the American Dream Coco Fusco, “Racial Time, Racial Marks, Racial Metaphors.” Skin Deep Thulani Davis, “Foreword” For All the World To See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights. Henry George Progress and Poverty (“Book VI “The Remedy”) Kindle John Ford The Grapes of Wrath (Film) 1940

Jezza Newma, Poor Kids PBS FRONTLINE (Television Documentary) 2012 Andrea Elliot “Invisible Child, Girl In The Shadows: Dasani’s Homeless Life” The NYTimes Dec 3, 2013 Bill Moyers, “Confronting the Contradictions of America’s Past” Moyers & Co. (TeleMagazine) 2012 May-Ying Lam “The Paradox of Poverty Through the Lens of Michael Williamson.” Washington Post Aug 7,

Photography and the American Dream: Assignments
There will be four presentations this semester using Prezi an online presentation tool that will facilitate collaborative work (see the Prezi.com tutorial online). All assignments are group assignments to avoid redundancy of content, privilege concise, comprehensive responses and promote collaborative learning. An exceptional level of organization will be required on each student’s part to complete the...
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