Smith reads Du Bois’s photographs in relation to other turn-of-the-century images such as scientific typologies, criminal mugshots, racist caricatures, and lynching photographs. By juxtaposing these images with reproductions from Du Bois’s exhibition archive, Smith shows how Du Bois deliberately challenged racist representations of African Americans. Emphasizing the importance of comparing multiple visual archives, Photography on the Color Line reinvigorates understandings of the stakes of representation and the fundamental connections between race and visual culture in the United States.
Blending psychoanalytic theory with the work of such political thinkers as Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault, Sharon Sliwinski explores how the disclosure of dream-life represents a special kind of communicative gesture—a form of unconscious thinking that can serve as a potent brand of political intervention and a means for resisting sovereign power. Each chapter centers on a specific dream plucked from the historical record, slowly unwinding the significance of this extraordinary disclosure. From Wilfred Owen and Lee Miller to Frantz Fanon and Nelson Mandela, Sliwinski shows how each of these figures grappled with dream-life as a means to conjure up the courage to speak about dark times. Here dreaming is defined as an integral political exercise—a vehicle for otherwise unthinkable thoughts and a wellspring for the freedom of expression.
Dreaming in Dark Times defends the idea that dream-life matters—that attending to this thought-landscape is vital to the life of the individual but also vital to our shared social and political worlds.