Race and Photography Racial Photography as Scientific Evidence, 1876-1980
by Amos Morris-Reich
University of Chicago Press, 2015
Cloth: 978-0-226-32074-8 | Paper: 978-0-226-32088-5 | Electronic: 978-0-226-32091-5
ABOUT THIS BOOKAUTHOR BIOGRAPHYREVIEWSTABLE OF CONTENTS

ABOUT THIS BOOK

Race and Photography studies the changing function of photography from the 1870s to the 1940s within the field of the “science of race,” what many today consider the paradigm of pseudo-science. Amos Morris-Reich looks at the ways photography enabled not just new forms of documentation but new forms of perception. Foregoing the political lens through which we usually look back at race science, he holds it up instead within the light of the history of science, using it to explore how science is defined; how evidence is produced, used, and interpreted; and how science shapes the imagination and vice versa.
           
Exploring the development of racial photography wherever it took place, including countries like France and England, Morris-Reich pays special attention to the German and Jewish contexts of scientific racism. Through careful reconstruction of individual cases, conceptual genealogies, and patterns of practice, he compares the intended roles of photography with its actual use in scientific argumentation. He examines the diverse ways it was used to establish racial ideologies—as illustrations of types, statistical data, or as self-evident record of racial signs. Altogether, Morris-Reich visits this troubling history to outline important truths about the roles of visual argumentation, imagination, perception, aesthetics, epistemology, and ideology within scientific study.  

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

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.

REVIEWS

“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

"Race and Photography is an extraordinary book exploring the entanglements of race, photography, and visual perception to illuminate a complex network of people, practices, theories, and technologies."
— Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgments

Note about Scanning and Reproduction of Photographs

- Amos Morris-Reich
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226320915.003.0001
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- Amos Morris-Reich
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226320915.003.0002
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- Amos Morris-Reich
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226320915.003.0003
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- Amos Morris-Reich
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226320915.003.0004
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- Amos Morris-Reich
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226320915.003.0005
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- Amos Morris-Reich
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226320915.003.0006
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

Notes

Index