News and Announcements Archive
Art History faculty member releases a critically acclaimed new book, "War Culture and the Contest of Images"
WAR CULTURE AND THE CONTEST OF IMAGES
“Strategically positioned between discussions of journalistic, vernacular images, and works of art, Apel significantly expands the contemporary conversation on the ‘war of images.’ This is an essential contribution to one of the major issues of our day.”
—W.J.T. Mitchell, author of Seeing Through Race
“Looking closely at the work of contemporary global photographers, Apel argues that art photography can powerfully counteract war’s
official representations and, likewise, create a new kind of public sphere in which war’s meanings can be scrutinized . . . a timely and necessary book.”
—Anthony W. Lee, series editor of Defining Moments in American Photography
War Culture and the Contest of Images analyzes the relationships among contemporary war, documentary practices, and democratic ideals. Dora Apel examines a wide variety of images and cultural representations of war in the United States and the Middle East, including photography, performance art, video games, reenactment, and social media images. Simultaneously, she explores
the merging of photojournalism and artistic practices, the effects of visual framing, and the construction of both sanctioned and counter-hegemonic narratives in a global contest of images.
While never suggesting that documentary practices are objective translations of reality, Apel shows that they are powerful polemical tools both for legitimizing war and for making its devastating effects visible. In modern warfare and in the accompanying culture of war that capitalism produces as a permanent feature of modern society, she asserts that the contest of images is as critical as the war on the ground.
DORA APEL is an associate professor and the W. Hawkins Ferry Endowed Chair in Modern and Contemporary Art History at Wayne State University. She is the author of Memory Effects: The Holocaust and the Art of Secondary Witnessing and Imagery of Lynching: Black Men, White Women, and the Mob (both Rutgers University Press).