School Photos in Liquid Time
Samuel and Althea Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies
Published by: University of Washington Press
264 pages, 184.00 x 229.00 mm, 85 b&w illus., 16 color plates
- ISBN: 9780295746548
- Published: December 2019
From clandestine images of Jewish children isolated in Nazi ghettos and Japanese American children incarcerated in camps to images of Native children removed to North American boarding schools, classroom photographs of schoolchildren are pervasive even in repressive historical and political contexts. School Photos in Liquid Time offers a closer look at this genre of vernacular photography, tracing how photography advances ideologies of social assimilation as well as those of hierarchy and exclusion. In Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer’s deft analysis, school photographs reveal connections between the histories of persecuted subjects in different national and imperial centers.
Exploring what this ubiquitous and mundane but understudied genre tells us about domination as well as resistance, the authors examine school photos as documents of social life and agents of transformation. They place them in dialogue with works by contemporary artists who reframe, remediate, and elucidate them. Ambitious yet accessible, School Photos in Liquid Time presents school photography as a new access point into institutions of power, revealing the capacity of past and present actors to disrupt and reinvent them.
[A] new book by Marianne Hirsch, the William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature and a professor at the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, examines this common but overlooked genre of vernacular photography for the first time.~Columbia News
Every new publication from Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer is an event to be welcomed and read with deep attention. When we encounter their co-authored work — on memorial objects, witness testimonies, photographs, and family secrets — we are given a triple dose of insight, fine-tuned historical research, and transformative close readings of freighted images. Their latest book, School Photos in Liquid Time: Reframing Difference, is no different.~Los Angeles Review of Books
Hirsch and Spitzer’s investigation into the school photograph as a site where difficult histories play out is a timely and important contribution to how we imagine the critical and affective potential of everyday photographs.~Photography and Culture
[P]ath-breaking...the book is commended for offering a full-length study devoted to school photos and for directing academic attention to a genre of vernacular photography that has received only a paucity of scholarly and historical investigation.~Kronos