American Icons

The Genesis of a National Visual Language

By Benedikt Feldges

© 2009 – Routledge

292 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415875509
pub: 2009-09-17
US Dollars$54.95
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Hardback: 9780415956352
pub: 2007-11-13
US Dollars$135.00
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About the Book

Despite the work that has been done on the power of visual communication in general, and about the social influence of television in particular, television’s relationship with reality is still something of a black box. Even today, the convention that the screen functions as a window on reality structures much of the production and reception of televisual narratives. But as reality ought to become history at one point, what are we to do with such windows on the past?

Developing and applying a highly innovative approach to the modern picture, American Icons sets out to expose the historicity of icons, to reframe the history of the screen and to dissect the visual core of a medium that is still so poorly understood. Dismantling the aura of apparently timeless icons and past spectacles with their seductive power to attract the eye, this book offers new ways of seeing the mechanisms at work in our modern pictorial culture.

Reviews

"Feldges argues that historians must abandon the idea that pictures can be used to construct a history of what they seem to depict, embracing instead a study of visual "etymology" – that is, tracing a path of how images came to be encoded with commonly understood meanings…. the book offers both a theoretical framework for a more complex understanding of visual language, as well as a glimpse of what visual language looked like when broadcast still ruled the day." --Jason Tocci, International Journal of Communication

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction

Part A: Icons in the Museum

Part B: Kaleidoscopic Spectacles

Part C: Hyperrealism

Appendix

Glossary: Four Codes of Visual Language

Notes

Listing of Sources

Bibliography

About the Author

Benedikt Feldges currently works at the FEBL, Institute of Continuous Education, Kanton Baselland, in Switzerland.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies

Cultural and media studies are now well-established as important academic disciplines and are inspiring new research into a wide range of pertinent issues. This series presents outstanding research in these subjects, helping to shape the direction of future inquiry.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC052000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies