Symposium: Photography, Media, and Society: the 60s and Beyond

Art - Lecture/Discussion

Saturday, October 13, 2012
8:00 AM-5:30 PM

WPI: Olin Hall
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609
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This major symposium sponsored by Mass Humanities will explore how photography has contributed to the collective memory of the country and has influenced American identity and thought. This day-long event will examine how consumption of visual images has changed – and how that change has influenced our collective consciousness. Topics of discussion include: why and how people remember images across time and cultures; how images have been transmitted to the public and what has evolved and changed to deliver messages differently (newspaper, television, and magazines, to websites and blogs); how “images,” even imagined, have a lasting resonance in our culture; and how media moments can affect our culture.

Symposium: Photography, Media, and Society: the 60s and Beyond

Registration begins: Campus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Olin Hall 107.

Welcome & Introduction
Dr. Martha McKenna, Lesley University, Moderator

9:00 am
The Media as a Unifier in Times of Grief
Dr. James Willis, Asuza Pacific University
This session will explore how the news media has helped to bring the country together in times of national tragedy, such as the Kennedy assassinations, 9/11, and the Oklahoma City bombing. A veteran news reporter and editor, Dr. Willis calls his coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing "committing pure journalism, washed clean of sensationalism and serving a deep need for those in grief." Willis is also the author of 100 Media Moments That Changed America.

Constructing the American Betrayal Narrative: Images of its Lost War in Vietnam
Dr. Jerry Lembcke, College of the Holy Cross
Images through which the war in Vietnam is remembered are powerful forces in American popular and political culture. The idea that the war was lost on the home front to radicals in the streets and liberals in Congress is largely sustained by two images: that of the spat-upon Vietnam veteran, and that of “Hanoi Jane,” aka Jane Fonda. This presentation will look critically at the origins and biographies of both figures, exploring along the way why they work the way they do in American culture. The presentation is accompanied by slides of comic-book panels and photographs.

Understanding Dissent by Warriors: How can Image Media Relay Truths that are Contested
Bestor Cram, Film director/producer, member Vietnam Veterans Against the War
This session is a about the founding principles of warrior dissent in VVAW (and subsequent IVAW) when there was no agreement amongst those opposed to the war. Two films, Unfinished Symphony and This Is Where We Take Our Stand provide an insight into democracy and the passion it ignites in those who fought for it and returned from war believing they had been betrayed by it.

Images of the Southern Civil Rights Movement: Rediscovering Our History
Judy Richardson, Former SNCC staff, historian, and filmmaker
We will examine the ways in which the images in PBS’ 14-hour Eyes on the Prize series and PBS’ Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968 helped change the established narrative of key events of the 1960’s Movement. Discussion of The Orangeburg Massacre will also reveal how this film has pulled back the veil of secrecy from a long-hidden incident and caused both South Carolinians and others to re-examine the accepted account of the event. Films clips from both the Eyes series and Orangeburg will be shown.

Panel Session: The Iconic Era: Photojournalism, Iconic Images, and the Visual Culture of War
Dr. John Louis Lucaites, Indiana University
Dr. Robert Hariman, Northwestern University
While one can point to any number of famous and enduring photographs from the first half of the 20th century, the iconic photograph came of age during the turbulent 1960s and in particular through news coverage of the Vietnam War. This panel will examine what are arguably the most significant photographs from the Vietnam War, as well as more recent examples of how such images continue to shape public memory and political debate regarding the conduct of war after 9/11.

Gallery Session: at the Worcester Art Museum
Matthias Waschek Director of the Worcester Art Museum
David Acton Worcester Art Museum Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photography, and Curator of Kennedy to Kent State

Post-Symposium Private Reception Worcester Art Museum café

Free and open to the public through generous sponsorship from MassHumanities and WPI. Event will be held on the WPI campus in Olin Hall 107.

Click here to reserve a space.

Call 508.793.4333 or 508.793.4334 with questions.

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Suggested Audiences:Elders, Adult, College, High School

Last Modified: March 26, 2013 at 1:23 PM


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