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How not to name your academic book:a game you can play! [Aug. 4th, 2004|02:45 pm]
Just me.
Got a scholarly book in the donation pile today.

It will help us play a new game called "What not to name your book if you want anyone to read it".

Here's how you play:

first, look at the cover and the title:

okay, now try to guess what the book is about just by looking at the title. Don't cheat by scrolling down and reading the description.

Okay, give up?

Tender Violence: Domestic Visions in an Age of U.S. Imperialism (Cultural Studies of the United States)

Book Description

Laura Wexler presents an incisive analysis of how the first American female photojournalists contributed to a "domestic vision" that reinforced the imperialism and racism of turn-of-the-century America. These women photographers, white and middle class, constructed images of war disguised as peace through a mechanism Wexler calls the "averted eye," which had its origins in the private domain of family photography.

Maybe it's just me, but I would have put the word "photojournalism" somewhere in the subtitle. "Domestic visions" really hasn't made its way into the lexicon as a synonym for "photographs of people".

so, did anyone have any good guesses for what the book was about? How close were you?

Does the actual topic interest you enough to make you want to read the book (if you could tell what the hell it was about in the first place)?

[User Picture]From: plymouth
2004-08-04 10:41 am (UTC)
I couldn't quite get past the fact that it had the words "domestic" and "violence" in the title and I just interpreted the rest as meaningless gobbledygook. so, um, yeah.
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[User Picture]From: palecur
2004-08-04 11:22 am (UTC)
I had guessed that it had to do with some sort of 'peace through strength' societal viewpoint that led to the violent wars of the 20th being viewed as 'a higher level of peace,' sort of thing.

Nothing really said 'photojournalism' or 'arcane wonkiness about some really abstruse sub-sub-niche of US History,' though.
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[User Picture]From: holyoutlaw
2004-08-04 12:17 pm (UTC)
(before reading the other comments or the cut id above)

Race relations/ cultural imperialism -- where nonEnglish speakers are forced to learn English and to acculturate. Or maybe the melting pot.
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[User Picture]From: holyoutlaw
2004-08-04 12:20 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if I was off base or not. Sorry!

If it were really cheap and had interesting photos, I might buy it. But would I ever unearth it from my to be read pile to actually read it? Prolly not.
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[User Picture]From: repoman
2004-08-04 01:11 pm (UTC)
I guessed a thesis that daddy got published for their kid...

I'm still not sure if I'm wrong or not.
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[User Picture]From: tyrsalvia
2004-08-04 07:39 pm (UTC)
I thought it was either domestic violence or lifestyle s&m.
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[User Picture]From: drexle
2004-08-05 04:37 am (UTC)

Without cheating

Judging by the cover, and the fact that the subtitle has the term "domestic visions," that it's some kind of photo book, specifically of the US since the rest of the subtitle indicates that it's about "imperial United States.". It's not really clear to me what the book is *about,* but I bet it has something to do with racism. "Tender Violence" would lead me to assume that it has something to do with sexuality though, which doesn't mesh with the pictures on the front nor the "imperial US" thing in the subtitle. I suppose if anything, it's probably a book that tries to set forth a hypothesis that racism, and elitism are nothing new to the US psyche, and they're setting out to prove it..

I wouldn't think it to be anything academic or scholarly. I probably wouldn't even give it a second glance, honestly.

So, was I right?
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[User Picture]From: drexle
2004-08-05 04:46 am (UTC)

Re: Without cheating

So, I just read the blurb... so I wasn't exactly right, but I think I was close. I would never have guessed it to be about female photojournalists, nor about any photography techniques either. I'd have expected it to be very light on words and very heavy on images... of course, maybe it is and I just haven't read it to see yet.

But yeah... I did think it to be a photo book, but not really one on photojournalism as such. No, "domestic visions" isn't exactly a common term, nor one that is easily parsed without puzzling it over. I think they were just reeeeeally hoping that it would make sense with the photos on the cover and the "imperial US" taglines around it. Had you not asked me to actually stop and think about it, I probably would have done presicely what plymouth did and focused on "domestic" and "violence" while disregarding everything else in the title, and pretty much ignoring the photos. As I said, I doubt it would have gotten a second glance from me on a store shelf.
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