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Rural ruins in America's climate change story: photojournalism, perception, and agency in Shishmaref, Alaska

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Herrmann, Victoria Stephanie (main author)
Journal article
Publication Date:
USA: Taylor & Francis
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
environment, environmental communication, history, image, perception, photographs, rural communities, socio-economic aspects, storytelling, visual communication, landscape, bias, climate, culture, cultural identity, climate change, environmental issues, natural disasters, photojournalism, cultural factors
19 pages., via online journal., This article provides a visual analysis of a set of peopleless photographs taken in 2006 of a falling home erosion in the village of Shishmaref, Alaska, that have been widely circulated in reporting about the relocation of the village due to climate change. It asks whether the visual contract between spectator and absent climate change victim extends beyond an empathetic response to action toward restoring the lost home. The article explores the relationship of contemporary scholarship on postmodern ruination in U.S. Rust Belt cities and the Shishmaref fallen home photograph as a means to analyze the work done by rural ruination.