This collection explores the role of the visual in shaping American identity. Introducing students to the visual in all its complexity and variety on the American scene - the language of signs; the historical construction and meaning of types; and the uses and politics of photography, film, bodily display, and documentaries - the volume underscores the productivity of the visual in thinking about race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and regionality. It clearly demonstrates that the ways in which people see and are seen determine who they are and how they see themselves as citizens and Americans.
An editorial introduction places the articles within a narrative structure that tells a collective tale of how this experiment called America took on visual shape and meaning. Suggested readings, a primer on how to read an image, and a listing of visual archives and collections complete the volume, making this an indispensable text for those in American studies and related fields.