Just Looking: self-representation, visual culture & contemporary Mexican photography

TESC - Spring 2004

Ellen Fernandez-Sacco     fernande@evergreen.edu

Office: SEM II C2106  (360) 867.5422

course description

Memory, identity and culture are closely intertwined in understanding how images work.
Visual culture, as a field of inquiry is closely related to cultural studies and goes beyond
traditional boundaries of art history. Under the rubric of photography, artists use a wide
variety of techniques, media and supports to produce visual statements about place, the
body, gender, race, identity, sexuality, nationality and philosophical stances. If we inhabit
worlds inundated by media, why and how do particular images seem apt examples of who
we are? What kinds of negotiations are facilitated by images?

The reciprocity between the fields of photography, cinema, politics, Indigenous and popular
culture in Mexico means that each medium informs, if not infuses the other. The result is a
wide variety of approaches that invent, borrow or combine iconographies or symbols to comment
on existence and observation from an artist’s point of view. Students will have the opportunity to
meet guest lecturers and field trips to Seattle area galleries are planned.

This program is divided into three parts: a brief introduction to the history of photography, an
exploration of theoretical frameworks around myth, self-representation & identity, the body
and photographic practice, as we delve into the works of contemporary artists & photographers
from Mexico and Latin America.


Marita Sturken & Lisa Cartwright, Practices of Looking: an introduction to visual culture.
    Oxford University Press, 2001.

Olivier Debroise, Mexican Suite: A History of Photography in Mexico. 
    University of Texas Press, 2001. ISBN 0-292-71611-7

Maintaining an intellectual journal
Active participation
Student presentations
- detailed journal entries for recording responses to readings, works, and questions to raise in seminar
- mid-quarter check-in on research project & review of journals
- digital capturing of images; library research & writing workshops
- 4 credit Independent Project component for in-depth research on topic
-    thesis-driven paper and student presentations last 2 weeks of the program

16 Credits:  credit equivalencies:
Art History / Cultural Studies/ Visual Culture/ Ethnic Studies

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weekly schedule

Monday - SEM II E2107

 Wednesday - LIB 2121
 Thursday - SEM II A3107
10-12 PM Lecture
10-12 Writing Workshop
10-12 PM Seminar

1-3PM Small Groups Meeting

1-3 PM All Group Meeting

week 1:    29 Mar. -1 April
A brief history of photography; Mexican War of 1847; practices & issues
Sturken & Cartwright, Ch.1: 10-43.
Debroise, Ch.1 & 2, 3-24.

week 2:    5 April - 8 April
Some theoretical frameworks: Myth/Self-representation/Identity
Independent project proposals due Wed. April 7.
Sturken & Cartwright Ch.2 & 3:  45-107
Debroise Ch.5: 73-86.

week 3:    12 April – 14 April
Surrealist photography; The Body & photography
Monday April 12: Library Research Workshop, 1:30 PM
Thursday April 15: Seattle:
            Graciela Iturbide, Photographic Northwest Gallery
            Margot Quan Knight, AT31 Gallery
            Only Skin Deep & Christian Marclay at S.A.M.
Debroise, Ch.3: 25-54.

week 4:    19 April - 22 April
To Invent, Borrow & Combine: approaching contemporary practice
Monday April 19: Video screening- Manuel Alvarez Bravo
            Parts I & II of The Adventure of Photography (1. Beginnings, 2. Surrealism)
3pp. Papers due  Wed. April 21:
Sturken & Cartwright, Ch. 6 & 7: 189-277.

week 5:    26 April – 29 April
Mid-quarter check-in: Scheduled meetings to review progress
of independent research projects, intellectual journals
Thursday. April 29:  10-12 Web Gallery Project Workshop -
            Meet at Computing Mac Classroom LIB 2416
Afternoon Seminar: discussion of handout
Carlos Monsivais, Mexican Postcards, Verso, 1997, Ch. 1 & 2, 1-35

week 6:    3 May – 6 May
What difference does a country of origin make? – Latin American perspectives;
Sturken & Cartwright,  Ch. 9: 315-323; Debroise, Ch. 10: 201-232.
*Seminar on Monday May 3
Thursday, May 6: 10-12 Web Gallery Project Workshop -
            Meet at Computing Mac Classroom LIB 2416

week 7:    10 May – 13 May
Globalization & photographic images: Mayan photographers
6-8 pp. Paper due Monday. May 10
All read:
Sturken & Cartwright, Ch.9, 324-346 &  Debroise, Ch.7 & 8, 107-162.

Thursday May 13 -Tacoma:  Tacoma Art Museum
Revisiting Lewis and Clark:
Contemporary Artists Revisit Race, Place & Memory.

week 8:    17 May – 20 May
Manipulations of visual experience: experience, commentary & observations
Sturken & Cartwright ; Debroise Ch.11 233-246.

week 9:    24 May – 27 May
Student presentations – Research papers due Thursday May 27

week 10:    31 May – 3 June
Student presentations- No class Monday 5/31- Memorial Day holiday

week 11 :   7 June – 11 June
Evaluation Week

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resources on-line:

Latin American Network Information Center

Humanities in Latin America

Photography: resources listed by country

International Center of Photography

Only Skin Deep [Can launch site from this location]

Cuba on the Verge: An Island in Transition

California Museum of Photography
Broad Territories: Images of Identity

A Shadow Born of Earth: New Photography in Mexico
Brief overview of 1996 show

The Light Factory- Slide Registry

Magnum Photos

Magnum, founded in 1947, is a cooperative of nearly sixty photographers.

Sight: Fine Photography Online [Magazine]


Antecamera: El sitio de la fotografia en Mexico

Artes e Historia: Mexico

Helios- Photography on line:


Centro de la Imagen

Helios- Photography Resources

Mexico from Empire to Revolution

Mexico: Splendors of Thirty Centuries

Hispanic Heritage

Corridos Sin Fronteras- (Traditions of Mexican Narrative Song) Smithsonian Institution

US Latino History and Culture

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collections & archives

Revealing Personal Identity: The Indigenous Vision of Manuel Carrillo:
Manuel Carrillo Photograph & Manuscript Collection, Smithsonian Institution

Collecion Cisneros- Art from Latin America

George Eastman House- International Museum of Photography & Film
Eastman House- links to Photography Collections
Eastman House- Video Gallery of Historic Photographic processes:

INAH (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia) - FOTOTECA de Pachuca, México:
Important photo archive in Mexico, includes the Casasola Archive & other collections
with representative images from the early daguerrotype to 35mm film of the 1940s. In Spanish.

FOTOTECA UNAM (Universidad Autónoma de México) –
Site for Archivo Fotográfico Manuel Toussaint del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas:
another major collection of Mexican photography. In Spanish.

Photography Collections Online:
A steadily growing digital image sampler and browsing resource for
the vast photography holdings of George Eastman House.
Subject headings for items digitized to date
    Photography Collections Indexed by photographer
    Photography Collections Stereo Views
    Photography Collections Lantern Slides
    Photography Collections Subject
    Photography Collections Books and Albums
    Collection Guide: Photography from 1839 to today
A sampler of the collection:
    The Gabriel Cromer Collection A sampler
    Pre-Cinema Project Images of media and devices used before motion picture film
    Technology Collection Images of Photographic equipment and related technologies

Fotografia Latinoamericana, 1840-1920 Collecion M & M Cuarterolo
History of photography in Argentina & Latin America- In English & Spanish

Tulane Photography Collection

Graciela Iturbide

Arts & History: Graciela Iturbide

Edelman Gallery

Images of the Spirit, Smithsonian Magazine June 1998

California Ethnic & Multicultural Archives

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Alquimia: una revista sobre historia y conservacion de la fotografia Mexicana.
Sistema Nacional de Fototecas. Mexico: CONACULTA / INAH ISSN 1405-7786

Artes de Mexico:
El arte ritual de ‘La Muerte Nina.’ No.15, 1992
El arte de Gabriel Figueroa. No.2 Invierno 1988.

Camaristas: Fotografos Mayas de Chiapas/ Mayan Photographers. CIESAS, Mexico 1998.

Luna Cornea: revista de fotografia, Centro de la Imagen/ CNCA
(Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes).  ISSN 0188-8005

Muestra de fotografia latinoamericana. ICOM, CONACULTA, Mexico, 1996.

Manuel Alvarez Bravo: photographs and memories.  Essay by Frederick Kaufman. 1997.

Elizabeth Armstrong, Victor Zamudio-Taylor, ULTRA BAROQUE:

Aspects of Post Latin American Art. Exhibition catalogue, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, 2000.

Armando Bartra,  Alejandro Moreno Toscano, Elisa Ramirez Castaneda, De Fotografos
y de Indios. FONCA, Ediciones Tecolotes, Mexico, 2000.

Roger Bartra, Blood, Ink, and Culture: Miseries and Splendors of the Post-Mexican Condition.
Mark Alan Healey, translator, Duke UP, 2002.

Lisa Bloom, ed. With Other Eyes: Looking at Race and Gender in Visual Culture.
U Minnesota Press, 1999.

Mexico: the revolution and beyond : photographs by Agustin Victor Casasola 1900-1940. 2003.

Sueann Caulfield, “The History of Gender in the Historiography of Latin America.”
Hispanic American Historical Review, 81: 3-4, Aug.-Nov. 2001, 451-492.

AD Coleman, “The Indigenous Vision of Manuel Alvarez Bravo.” in Manuel Alvarez Bravo.
Master of Photography series, Aperture, 1997.

Olivier Debroise, Mexican Suite: a history of photography in Mexico. translated and revised, 
U of Texas Press, 2001

Elizabeth Edwards, ed. Anthropology & Photography 1860-1920. Yale UP 1992.

Elizabeth Ferrer, A Shadow Born of Earth: New Photography in Mexico. Universe Publishing
/ American Federation of the Arts, 1993. ISBN 0-87663-645-8    
Coco Fusco & Brian Wallis, Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self.
Exhibition catalogue, Dec. 12, 2003- Feb. 29, 2004. Abrams, 2003. ISBN: 0-8109-4631-1

Coco Fusco, English is Broken Here: Notes on Cultural Fusion in the Americas. The New Press, 1996.

Nestor Garcia Canclini, Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity.
Christopher L. Chiappari & Sylvia L. Lopez, translators. U Minnesota Press, 1995.

Shifra Goldman, Dimensions of the Americas: Art and Social Change in
Latin America and the United States. University of Chicago Press, 1994.

Sylvia Gruner, Reliquias / Collares.  Mexico, 1998. ISBN: 970-18-1099-6

Serge Grunzinski, The Mestizo Mind: the intellectual dynamics of colonization and globalization.
 Translated by Deke Dusinberre. Routledge, 2002.

Gilbert Joseph, Anne Rubenstein & Eric Zolov, ed. Fragments of a Golden Age:
The Politics of Culture in Mexico Since 1940. Duke University Press, 2001.

Amanda Hopkinson, ed & translator. Desires and Disguises: Five Latin American Photographers.

Serpent's Tail (London), 1992.

Images of the Spirit (exhibition catalogue), photographs by Graciela Iturbide,

preface by Roberto Tejada, epilogue by Alfredo López Austin, Aperture, 1996.

David Leddick, Male Nudes. Taschen, 2001.

Juchitán de las mujeres, photographs by Graciela Iturbide,
text by Elena Poniatowska, Ediciones Toledo (Mexico City), 1989.

Terry McCoy, ed. Cuba on the Verge: An island in transition. Bullfinch Press/ AOL Time Warner, 2003.

Nicholas Mirzoeff, ed., The Visual Culture Reader. Second Edition, Routledge, 2003.

Carlos Monsiváis, Mexican Postcards. Translated by John Kraniauskas. Verso, 1997.

Francisco Montellano, Charles B. Waite: la época de oro de las postales en México.
Circulo de Arte- fotografía, 1998. ISBN: 970-18-1719-2

Gerardo Mosquera, ed. Beyond the Fantastic: Contemporary Art Criticism from Latin America.
MIT Press, 1995.

John Mraz, Nacho Lopez: Mexican Photographer.  University of Minnesota Press, 2003.

James Oles, South of the Border: Mexico in the American Imagination, 1914-1947.
Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993.

Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, The Last City. New Mexico: Twin Palms Press, 1995.

Ileana Rodriguez, ed. The Latin American Subaltern Studies Reader. Duke UP, 2001.

Anne Rubenstein, “Mass Media and Popular Culture in the Postrevolutionary Era.”
Michael C. Meyer & William H. Beazley, eds. The Oxford History of Mexico. Oxford University Press, 2000, 637-670.

Ella Shohat, ed. Talking Visions: Multicultural Feminisms in a Transcultural Age. MIT Press, 1998.

In the Eye of the Sun: Mexican Fiestas. Photographs by Geoff Winningham.
Introduction by Richard Rodriguez, Essay by J.M. Clezio. WW Norton, 1997.

Mariana Yampolsky, The Edge of Time: Photographs of Mexico.   

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