Bob Hansman's "Pruitt-Igoe": An American Culture Studies Panel Discussion

DUC 276, 5:00pm-7:00pm



This AMCS Panel Discussion engages Bob Hansman's recently published book in the Images of America series, Pruitt-Igoe (Arcadia, 2017).   Pruitt-Igoe is an innovative photo essay focused on a central site of mid-20th-century African American and American life, death, and creative struggle.   It features a host of never-before-seen images of everyday existence at Pruitt-Igoe.   Through these images, it narrates a complex history, and more important, it attempts to do justice to its historical subjects, members of our community, for whom the past is not dead, it's not even past.   Along with comments from Bob Hansman (Associate Professor, Architecture, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts), the Panel Discussion features responses from Douglas Flowe (Assistant Professor, History, Arts & Sciences),  Margaret Garb (Professor, History, Arts & Sciences, and Co-Director, Washington University Prison Education Program), and Patricia Heyda (Associate Professor, Architecture, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts).  Matters to be addressed include the process of creating a historical photo essay--how Hansman went about doing the "archival work" of locating and culling the photos, choosing which people, which moments, and which themes to focus on, constructing a narrative, and dealing with the "contradictions" and past and active traumas that the book engages.   What were the "politics" of writing the book--working with community members, some of whom are friends, neighbors, fellow church members.  Finally,"who owns history," and what does it mean for the community to have ownership of its own history?  What does the book teach us about the racialized history of St. Louis?

Reception will follow.

Iver Bernstein

Director, American Culture Studies