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Imagemaker Presentation: The Loss of Community

Vincent Cianni

Sunday, October 07 - 1:30PM to 2:00PM
Lecture Center 102

Alexis de Tocqueville, 1805-1859: I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.

The backbone of community is the individual, the family, and the group. When Alexis de Tocqueville visited America in 1831 to study the American penal system in depth for nine months, he identified the reason for American exceptionalism to be that communities were structured from the bottom up. That has fundamentally and possibly irrevocably changed. Marc Dunkelman, a Fellow in Public Policy at Brown University's Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, poses in his book "The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community." that communities have been replaced with networks in which you keep in touch with only your closest friends and family; gone is the age of the township.

Today communities are continually becoming more homogenous, less diverse in most all demographics, more biased and prejudiced in making political, economic, and social choices and extremely myopic in seeking resolutions to the devastating social, political, and economic problems that exist in the United States presently. Because of this lack of interaction and establishing relationships with people who are different than them, people are less willing to [look for] compromise.

This lecture will discuss how photography, advocacy and activism has been influential and central to my work throughout my career as a documentary photographer exploring community, memory, social justice, and civil and human rights. It will also look at how image-makers and artists can protect these ideals and preserve diversity and equality in an ever-increasing cultural and political environment that strips away rights from many.


Vincent Cianni
Vincent Cianni

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