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Picturing IdentityContemporary American Autobiography in Image and Text$
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Hertha D. Sweet Wong

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469640709

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469640709.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Picturing Identity

Hertha D. Sweet Wong

University of North Carolina Press

Arising from a period of intense social upheaval and technological innovation, late 20th-century writers and artists challenge inherited notions of subjectivity and experiment with new hybrid forms of autobiographies composed of both image and text. The introduction provides an overview of how disciplinary boundaries have become more porous, leading to a variety of transdisciplinary visual-verbal self-narrations. The chapter reviews key concerns from Autobiography Studies and Visual Studies and how they redefine image-text relations as a matrix or a network with many surfaces and axes of interaction. The introduction also explains the organization of the book: the work of eight writers-artists–Peter Najarian, Leslie Marmon Silko, Art Spiegelman, Julie Chen, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Carrie Mae Weems, Faith Ringgold, and Edgar Heap of Birds, moving from the most literature-based to the most art-based. In dialogue with historical trauma and its consequences, each author asks crucial questions about American identity.

Keywords:   Autobiography studies, Visual studies, Image-Text Relations, Subjectivity, Identity, Transdisciplinary

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