Feb 07, 2017
Immigration bans, unfortunately, are nothing new. We need to pay attention to the ways that immigration is framed rhetorically. Examining the photographers and photographs that captured images of “undesired” immigrants in Canada and the United States at the turn of the 20th century, we can begin to understand the development of photography as a eugenic technology, crucial to our evolving understanding of disability in North America. We can also refigure the engagement with visual culture that is developing in fields such as rhetoric, anthropology, and disability studies.
This engagement focuses not just on photographs themselves but on the archaeology of photography as a technology, on its surfaces of emergence, its modes of reproduction and circulation, and on the ways that disability is revealed or ignored in archives. This approach then offers tools for interpretation and investigation that might be taken up by others and applied across eras and images, as well as across disciplines.