I am grateful to Ms Mohammed for reviewing my book, Humane Insight: Looking at Images of African-American Suffering and Death. As she notes, the work addresses historical events of violence enacted against African Americans. What does not appear in the review and may well be useful for those interested in the topic is that the object of the study is the practice of looking itself. The episodes included in the work are centered around Mamie Till-Mobley’s extraordinary work as a Black activist and especially as a visual theorist. The book therefore begins (not with the Middle Passage where there were certainly scenes of violence but none whose horrors were figured at the time visually for an abolitionist and Black liberationist viewership; moreover, these subjects cannot unproblematically be called “African Americans”) in 1834, the year in which photographic processes were invented and in the era in which positivism reigned. The book, then, is not a study of episodes of violence but of scenarios of looking at violence. This detail is important to any H-Net readers who are involved in visual studies and the theories of sight and intersubjective encounter. The book will be available in paperback in August of 2017. I appreciate this opportunity to supplement the review with this additional information.
Courtney R. Baker, Ph.D.
American Studies & Black Studies