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History, Photography, and Race in the South: From the Civil War to Now Part 3—Race, Childhood, and the Southern Gothic

Katherine Henninger, associate professor, departments of English and women's and gender studies, Louisiana State University. Bringing together some 115 photographs from across four decades of the artist’s career, Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings offers both a sweeping overview of her achievement and a focused exploration of the continuing influence of the American South on her work. For a public symposium held on April 14, 2018, in conjunction with the exhibition, Katherine Henninger explores visual legacies of the southern gothic in literature and photography, and contemporary southern artistic engagement with those legacies vis-à-vis figures of childhood. The southern gothic has powerfully registered American violence around race, class, sexuality, and gender, while figures of childhood register anxiety about the South’s—really, the nation’s—innocence and guilt in relation to such violence. Henninger demonstrates how Mann’s photographs evoke and disrupt these twinned representational traditions. This program is made possible by the James D. and Kathryn K. Steele Fund for Photography.