At the Crossroads of Hope and Despair: America since the Crash

Speaker name: 
Matthew Frye Jacobson
William Robertson Coe Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies
Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 5:00pm
Whitney Humanities Center See map
53 Wall St - The Gallery at the Whitney
New Haven

Matthew Jacobson’s photo exhibit, “At the Crossroads of Hope and Despair,” comprises images taken across the country from 2009 to 2013 that speak to the complexities of this moment. Drawn from nearly 4000 images now archived on the Historian’s Eye website, these materials convey the harsh realities of American life during the Great Recession, but they also capture diverse passions and expressions of civic engagement that are emblems of aspiration, futurity, and promise. Myriad closed businesses and abandoned storefronts constitute a public monument to widespread distress; omnipresent, expectant Obama iconography articulates a wish for new national narratives; flamboyant street theater and wry signage and graffiti bespeak a widespread impulse to talk back. Together these images reflect the somber beauty of a time that is perilous, but in which “hope” has not ceased to hold meaning.