Contested Vision: Race and the Limits of Visual Evidence


ACLS Fellowship Program


Film & Media Studies


“Contested Vision” is a critical history of visual media as legal evidence in the United States. The book argues the controversial status of photographic images as evidence from Rodney King to George Floyd is not a product of the so called “digital turn,” but rather stems from a much older distrust of nonwhite voices and denigration of human interpretation in favor of data analysis. Examining the use of visual evidence in key trials from the late nineteenth century to the present, “Contested Vision” reveals how the camera’s application in policing and the courts has consistently enabled the unjust treatment of people of color under a guise of objectivity. At the same time, it details how minoritized communities have used the affective power of visual evidence for alternative means of justice.