Image Analysis and Essay

The study of representation – that one thing stands for something else ‐ prevails across disciplines and cultures and assumes one underlying question: From which point of view?

Assignment Description:

Compose a 4‐5 page essay analyzing a cultural representation from the Civil Rights era. Specifically, select a visual image that represents or is a response to the cultural and social changes of the Civil Rights era, and the protest movements of the times. In many respects, the Civil Rights era was a time of words and images.

The image you select, whether a movie poster or lobby card, an advertisement from a newspaper or magazine, an album cover, or other work of creative art, is a cultural artifact of the time period in which it was produced, and by studying the visual and textual elements of that chosen image (use of symbols, text, and other elements of composition), you can come to a better understanding of the historical and social context in which the artifact was produced.

Writing Activity: Analyzing the image

What are the specifics of your visual picture?

What is the subject(s) in the image and what is its purpose?
Who produced the image? What is the producer’s stance or attitude toward the subject?
Who do you believe was the intended audience?
What is the underlying message of this image? What was the political situation of the time?
What was the socio‐cultural climate of the time?
How does an understanding of the historical, political, and socio‐cultural contexts affect our understanding of the message?
How does the image represent ideas of a particular protest movement?
Use of Secondary Sources (at least 4)

Find sources to understand the context and meaning of the image you chose.
The Civil Rights movement is a broad era. You should be able to find peer-reviewed sources that speak to your picture.

Develop paragraphs with plentiful evidence and even more explanation of the connection between that evidence and your arguments/assertions. Be aware and selective in using emotional, logical, and ethical appeals. Remember to write a conclusion that goes beyond reiteration and leaves the audience (me) with something to think about.

The Picture

For the sake of this assignment, you should copy and paste the photo you have chosen unto your title page.

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