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American PietàsVisions of Race, Death, and the Maternal$
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Ruby C. Tapia

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816653102

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816653102.001.0001

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Introduction: Race, Death, and the Maternal in American Visual Culture

Introduction: Race, Death, and the Maternal in American Visual Culture

(p.1) Introduction: Race, Death, and the Maternal in American Visual Culture
American Pietàs

Ruby C. Tapia

University of Minnesota Press

This introductory chapter begins by considering the September 11 “American Pietà,” a photograph of five rescue workers carrying fatally injured Roman Catholic Priest and New York Fire Department chaplain Mychal Judge taken during the 9/11 terror attacks. These five male uniformed first responders put in the place of the Virgin Mother, mark nationalism’s long-standing possession and appropriation of maternal space and visual maternal discourses in states of war and emergency. This book focuses on late-twentieth-and early-twenty-first-century maternal representations in a variety of visual and textual forms including photography, film, and popular journalism. It reveals the complex relationship between visual intertexts and the sentiments that attend the incorporation and rejection of racialized bodies within contexts of death and remembering.

Keywords:   American Pietà, Mychal Judge, 9/11, Virgin Mother, maternal space, visual maternal discourses, intertexts

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