Theorizing Circulation in Visual Rhetoric Through Dorothea Lange's Images of Japanese American Internment

Smith, Christina M.
October 2012
Journal of Visual Literacy;Fall2012, Vol. 31 Issue 2, p71
Academic Journal
This essay examines the War Relocation Authority photographs of Dorothea Lange. Though she received acclaim for her prior Farm Security Administration work, most of her images of Japanese American internment were impounded and did not circulate in WWII visual culture. Nevertheless, some images did circulate in limited or de-contextualized arenas both during and after the war. Therefore, in this essay, I analyze the non-circulation and de-contextualized circulation of Lange's images through the public sphere, focusing attention on how scholars can perform analysis of texts that have limited or constrained circulation. Specifically, I examine the problematic relationship between circulation and the notion of publics.


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