Boots and Hands: Visual Tropes and Democratic Public Culture

Thursday 21 October at 18:30
Concordia University

Robert Hariman
Northwestern University
John Louis Lucaites
Indiana University

Photojournalism, broadly construed, is a mode of public art that schools us to "see" and to be "seen" as citizens. As such, it provides an iconography for how to “think” about political character, relationships, and events. This lecture explores the implications of such a political iconography by examining the somewhat odd penchant that photojournalists have for taking pictures that feature "feet" and "hands" (or some iteration of the same, such as shoes, boots, gloves, prostheses, etc.) either exclusively or primarily.

Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites are the authors of No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy – a book and a blog , each dedicated to discussion of the role that photojournalism and other visual practices play in a vital democratic society. Robert Hariman is professor in the Program of Rhetoric and Public Culture, Department of Communication Studies at Northwestern University, and is the author of Political Style: The Artistry of Power. John Louis Lucaites is professor of rhetoric and public culture in the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University and an adjunct professor of American studies. He is co-author of Crafting Equality: America's Anglo-African World.

Presented in collaboration with the international colloquium Imaginaires du présent. Photographie, politique et poétique de l’actualité/ Imaginaries of the Present: News Photography, Politics, and Poetics, 22-23 October, Grande Bibliothèque M.450. Organized by Figura, centre de recherche sur le texte et l'imaginaire, Université du Québec à Montréal.

Image: Brooks Kraft/Corbis for Time. Ft. Benning, Georgia, 11 January 2007. Posted by John Lucaitis, "There To Be Seen," BagNews (July 20, 2007).