The View from Below: Imaging Modernity and the Lower East Side


ACLS Fellowship Program




“The View from Below” explores the distinctive resonances of the Lower East Side as a site of encounter with the challenges—notably, the intense visuality—of modern experience, through which modern being and being in time are powerfully shaped. Across the boundaries between literary and visual texts, between Jewish, “native,” and other cultural trajectories, this project considers a long history of engagement with the historical ghetto and its images. It argues for its centrality to changing iconographies of modern America; its consequence as a site of experimentation in the work of envisioning historical change; and its uses as a laboratory for understanding the ever more complex relations, in a mass media era, of visual images to other signs.