Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 1-27-2017

Major Department or Program

Rhetoric Studies


Heather Ashley Hayes; Matthew Bost; Lydia McDermott


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.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Hurricane Katrina (2005), Photojournalism, Image analysis Natural disasters -- Louisiana, Neoliberalism, Mass media criticism, New Orleans (La.), Catastrophes (Geology), Art- Exhibitions -- “Telling Their Stories”, Mass media and minorities -- United States, Mass media and race relations, African Americans -- Gulf Coast (U.S.), African Americans -- Press coverage -- Representation, Art museums -- Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Post-racialism -- Racism, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2017 -- Gender Studies

Permanent URL

Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis

Included in

Rhetoric Commons



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