Writing Visual Histories-9781350023451

Writing Visual Histories

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What can visual artifacts tell us about the past? How can we interpret them rigorously, weaving their formal and material qualities into rich social contexts to reach wider historical conclusions? Unfolding key historiographical and methodological issues, Writing Visual Histories equips students to answer these questions, showing visual analysis to be a key skill in historical research. A multifaceted structure makes this a practical guide for writing and reflecting on visual histories. A first section includes six case studies -- on topics ranging from medieval heraldry to Life magazine. These examples are followed by an exploration of essential concepts that inform historical thinking about visual matters, a treatment of disciplinary practices, and discussion of the practicalities (such as accessing museum collections and organising permissions) that scholars working with visual sources have to navigate. This book is an invaluable tool kit for opening up a historical understanding of visual phenomena and practices of looking, and for writing that takes an integrated approach to studies of the past.

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