Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Communication

Committee Chair

Christopher Campbell

Committee Chair School

Communication

Committee Member 2

David Davies

Committee Member 2 School

Communication

Committee Member 3

Cheryl Jenkins

Committee Member 3 School

Communication

Committee Member 4

Vanessa Murphree

Committee Member 4 School

Communication

Committee Member 5

Fei Xue

Committee Member 5 School

Communication

Abstract

The dissertation analyzes photographic images of dead bodies that appeared in news settings related to warfare in the United States in three distinct eras – the 1860s, the 1940s, and the 1960s. The primary subject of the analysis are photographs of corpses created in the context of the American Civil War (1861-1865), World War II including the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust (1939-1946), and conflict and war in Vietnam (1950-1975). While the sample represents a partial catalogue of images of the dead in the context of warfare since photography emerged in the 1840s as a medium for disseminating news, the selected epochs represent key moments in the development of news photography and thus offer a broad cross section of historical periods in which mortality was part of the news agenda. Findings indicate a consistent distribution and level of graphic explicitness in photographs of dead bodies in the context of each war. Most of the images that have emerged as iconic are associated with the later stages of each war.

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