Monica Bravo, Brown University and Amanda Murphyao, Carleton University | Newberry

Monica Bravo, Brown University and Amanda Murphyao, Carleton University

Friday, May 20, 2016

2 to 5 pm

Towner Fellows Lounge

Center for American History and Culture Programs
American Art and Visual Culture Seminar

Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Helen Levitt, and the Surrealism of the Streets

Monica Bravo, Brown University

Although the impact of foreign photographers on Manuel Álvarez Bravo’s development as Mexico’s pre-eminent modernist photographer has been widely acknowledged, his reciprocal influence has been neglected. Yet Helen Levitt saw his photographs at New York’s Julien Levy Gallery before her own departure south in 1941. Levitt’s Mexican photographs, and their relation to Bravo’s, raise a question regarding New World variants of Surrealism. The movement’s founder, André Breton, claimed: “Mexico is the most surrealist country in the world.” Are Levitt’s and Bravo’s Mexican street photographs symptoms of this native condition; or amalgams of European, U.S., Mexican, and even American Surrealisms?

Islands in the Inset: Representations of the Territory of Hawai’i in Carto-Caricatures (Map Cartoons), 1893-2011

Amanda Murphyao, Carleton University

Although Hawaiian statehood was widely celebrated in 1959, the fraught legacy of the territory’s integration into the United States is reinforced by its placement in an inset alongside Alaska in the bottom left-hand corner of many maps. The tension between colonial consumption and cultural preservation is mirrored in carto-caricatures (or map cartoons) dating back to the deposition of Queen Lili’uokalani in 1893. This excerpt from my dissertationexplains the role of carto-caricatures in subverting and reinforcing settler invader colonialism in the territory of Hawai’i.

Cost and Registration Information 

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically. For a copy of the paper, email the Scholl Center at Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.