Framing the grievable/ungrievable American citizen : visual representations on behalf of Katrina event survivors
January 27, 2017
Department or Program
Heather Ashley Hayes
This project confronts the public memory of Hurricane Katrina through Telling Their Stories, a curation of 53 news images and an introductory text presented by the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Engaging with visual rhetoric, critical race, and political theory, this paper performs a close reading of the text. This method codes the photos into five dominant categories (apocalyptic imagery, black hypervisibility, neoliberal citizenship, militarization, and class voyeurism) to uncover an overarching schema of legibility. The circulation of these punitive visual frames naturalizes the material inequality the bodies pictured are subjected to. Overall, I argue the photo curation further embeds iconic visual frames of black precarity and white exceptionalism into the Katrina event’s memory to persuade black ungrievability.