“Beautifully written and theoretically sophisticated, Picture Freedom is an absolute gem in its engagement with nineteenth-century visual culture, black subjectivity, and representations of freedom. Through exciting archival work that brings to light a stunning photographic history, Cobb centers black women in the history of nineteenth-century visual culture as consumers and producers of ideas and images of emancipation. One of the book’s most significant contributions is its astute theorization of the relationship between photographic practices, black interiority, and public culture. I love this book!”
—Nicole R. Fleetwood, author of Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness
“Picture Freedom provides a unique and nuanced interpretation of nineteenth-century African American life and culture. Focusing on visuality, print culture, and an examination of the parlor, Cobb has fashioned a book like none other, convincingly demonstrating how whites and blacks reimagined racial identity and belonging in the early republic.”
—Erica Armstrong Dunbar, author of A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City
“This notion of the domesticated in its most politicized register—citizenship—is at stake Picture Freedom: Cobb reminds us in ways both telling and unforgiving that ‘Black freedom is not Black citizenship.’”
—Journal of American History
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