Synopses & Reviews
In The Right to Look, Nicholas Mirzoeff develops a comparative decolonial framework for visual culture studies, the field that he helped to create and shape. Casting modernity as an ongoing contest between visuality and countervisuality, or andldquo;the right to look,andrdquo; he explains how visuality sutures authority to power and renders the association natural. An early-nineteenth-century concept, meaning the visualization of history, visuality has been central to the legitimization of Western hegemony. Mirzoeff identifies three andldquo;complexes of visualityandrdquo;andmdash;plantation slavery, imperialism, and the present-day military-industrial complexandmdash;and explains how, within each, power is made to seem self-evident through techniques of classification, separation, and aestheticization. At the same time, he shows how each complex of visuality has been counteredandmdash;by the enslaved, the colonized, and opponents of war, all of whom assert autonomy from authority by claiming the right to look. Encompassing the Caribbean plantation and the Haitian revolution, anticolonialism in the South Pacific, antifascism in Italy and Algeria, and the contemporary global counterinsurgency, The Right to Look is a work of astonishing geographic, temporal, and conceptual reach.
A work of social theory that seeks to integrate politics and ethics into visual culture studies.
This sweeping comparative decolonial framework for visual culture studies, a field the author helped shape, casts modernity as a contest between visuality and countervisuality, or the right to look.
About the Author
Nicholas Mirzoeff is Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. He is the author of several books, including An Introduction to Visual Culture, Watching Babylon: The War in Iraq and Global Visual Culture, and Diaspora and Visual Culture: Representing Africans and Jews, as well as the editor of The Visual Culture Reader.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations ix
Preface. Ineluctable Visualities xiii
Introduction. The Right to Look, or, How to Think With and Against Visuality 1
Visualizing Visuality 35
1. Oversight: The Ordering of Slavery 48
2. The Modern Imaginary: Anti-Slavery Revolutions and the Right to Existence 77
Puerto Rican Counterpoint I 117
3. Visuality: Authority and War 123
4. Abolition Realism: Reality, Realisms, and Revolution 155
Puerto Rican Counterpoint II 188
5. Imperial Visuality and Countervisuality, Ancient and Modern 196
6. Anti-Fascist Neorealisms: North-South and the Permanent Battle for Algiers 232
Mexican-Spanish Counterpoint 271
7. Global Counterinsurgency and the Crisis of Visuality 277