Race and Photography: Racial Photography as Scientific Evidence, 1876-1980

Race and Photography Racial Photography as Scientific Evidence, 1876-1980 – Morris-Reich – 2016

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Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (January 11, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 022632088X
ISBN-13: 978-0226320885

Review

“In this brave, clear-eyed book, Morris-Reich confronts racial photography on its own terms: as a form of scientific evidence. Without for a moment forgetting the political contexts of racial photography, he shows that ideology alone is insufficient to explain the origins, varieties, and power of racial photography and the aims of its diverse practitioners. This is a remarkably attentive book: scrupulously attentive to historical context, the shifting epistemologies that framed photography, and, above all, the visual details of the photographs themselves.”

(Lorraine Daston, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)

“An important, smart book about how visual argumentation works. It goes beyond its primary subject—the way photographs of Jews were used in nineteenth- and twentieth-century German studies of race—and even beyond the study of photography or anthropology to the area of visual studies as a whole. Its clear and important methodological analyses contribute substantially to this subject.”

(Margaret Olin, Yale University)

“This brilliantly researched, brave, and sophisticated analysis offers a much-needed account of how photographs worked as evidence within racial science. By bringing scientific purpose—however aberrant—to the center of his analysis, Morris-Reich demonstrates how certain forms of photographic practice and evidence became thinkable at given historical moments with their accompanying scientific agendas. While the larger devastating and catastrophic consequences are well known, this important and thoughtful book helps us to understand debates about race as a deeply woven yet fluid matrix of the methodological, ideological, and sociological forces that produced these photographs as scientific tools of racial imagination.”

(Elizabeth Edwards, De Montfort University)

About the Author

Amos Morris-Reich is a professor in the Department of Jewish History and the director of the Bucerius Institute for Research of Contemporary German History and Society at the University of Haifa. He is the author of The Quest for Jewish Assimilation in Modern Social Science and the editor of collected essays by Georg Simmel and Sander Gilman.
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