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Author and Scholar W.J.T. Mitchell to Discuss Abu Ghraib Images March 30
For release: March 22, 2006
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Dr. W.J.T. Mitchell, professor of English and art history at the University of Chicago, will give an illustrated lecture entitled "The Unspeakable and the Unimaginable: Word and Images in a Time of Terror" (about the Abu Ghraib prison photographs) in the Engineering Auditorium at the University of Memphis on March 30, 2006, at 7:00 p.m. Eminent Faculty Award recipient David Appleby and photographer and Associate Professor of Art Lawrence Jasud, both of the U of M, will respond to Mitchell's presentation.

March marks the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq; the pictures of torture in Abu Ghraib were released in April 2004. This event will give the University and Memphis communities a chance to explore the role that media plays in our experience of tragedy, loss, and an ongoing involvement with the people of Iraq. Dr. Kenneth Haltman, Hohenberg Chair of Excellence in the Art Department, notes that Mitchell is particularly suited to lead such an event since he "is among the most thoughtful and articulate contemporary interpreters of visual culture. His visit to campus offers members of the university community, students and faculty alike, an exciting opportunity to reconsider the powerful, often disturbing images that shape our world, in this case photographs of prisoners taken at Abu Ghraib, in pictorial as well as historical context. Mitchell is renowned for his ability to make sense of such visual expressions in a manner accessible to a wide audience despite the theoretical sophistication of his analysis."

Dr. Mitchell is a scholar and theorist of media, visual art, and literature and is among the founders of the emergent field of visual culture and iconology (the study of images across the media). He is editor of the interdisciplinary journal Critical Inquiry and the author of numerous books and articles, including What Do Pictures Want: The Lives and Loves of Images (2005). This event is sponsored by the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities and the College of Communication and Fine Arts. It is free and open to the public.

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