Home / Events / Fred Turner: "The Family of Man and the Politics of Attention in Cold War America"

Fred Turner: "The Family of Man and the Politics of Attention in Cold War America"

When Apr 30, 2013
from 12:00 PM to 02:00 PM
Where SSH1246
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Abstract: In 1955, the Museum of Modern Art mounted one of the most widely seen – and widely excoriated – photography exhibitions of all time, The Family of Man. For the last forty years, critics have decried the show as a model of the psychological and political repression of cold war America. This talk challenges that view. It shows how the immersive, multi-image aesthetics of the exhibition emerged not from the cold war, but from the World War II fight against fascism. It then demonstrates that The Family of Man aimed to liberate the senses of visitors and especially, to enable them to embrace racial, sexual and cultural diversity – even as it enlisted their perceptual faculties in new modes of collective self-management. For these reasons, the talk concludes, the exhibition became an influential prototype of the immersive, multi-media environments of the 1960s – and of our own multiply mediated social world today.

Bio: Fred Turner is Associate Professor of Communication and Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at Stanford University. He is the author most recently of The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties (forthcoming, University of Chicago Press), as well as two earlier books: From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism and Echoes of Combat: The Vietnam War in American Memory. His essays have tackled topics ranging from the rise of reality television to the culture of engineering at Google. A former journalist, Turner has also written for publications ranging from The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine to Nature.

Lunch provided. Please RSVP here: http://tinyurl.com/FredTurner-April2013

This event is co-sponsored by the American Cultures and Politics research cluster, the Center for Science and Innovation Studies and the Program in Science and Technology Studies

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