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Cornell University    
  Jan 18, 2018
Courses of Study 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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AMST 3010 - Photography and the American Dream

(crosslisted) ARTH 3010 , VISST 3010  

Fall. 4 credits. Letter grades only.

W. Gaskins.

Who are ‘the poor’ in the United States? Who are the largest recipients of federal welfare and entitlement spending? Why is there an unprecedented simultaneous increase in wealth and poverty in the United States at this point in its history? What role does photography play in our understanding and misunderstanding of poverty in ‘the greatest country in the world?’ In this course we will explore the perceptions of poverty in the United States through three major American newspapers.

In this course students will explore the myths and realities of ‘The American Dream’ through an analysis of photojournalistic coverage of poverty that appear in contemporary editions of The New York Times, The New York Daily News and The New York Post. Moreover, the course will consider key moments in the reportage of poverty in the United States through television, cinema, magazines, politics and popular culture. Through the collection of the Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University Libraries and other primary sources of visual culture, the course will engage with the complexities and contradictions of poverty in the United States. The capstone of this course will be a public exhibition and discussion of the visual and editorial content of the newspapers, and the connections between editorial photography, public policy and opinion, and how their conclusions can possibly inform solutions to the issue of poverty in America.

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