How the Other Half Looks: The Lower East Side and the Afterlives of Images

How New York’s Lower East Side inspired new ways of seeing America


$21.95 / £16.99
Jul 14, 2020
6.13 x 9.25 in.
8 color + 79 b/w illus.
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New York City’s Lower East Side, long viewed as the space of what Jacob Riis notoriously called the “other half,” was also a crucible for experimentation in photography, film, literature, and visual technologies. Sara Blair traces the career of the Lower East Side as a place where image-makers, writers, and social reformers tested new techniques for apprehending America—and their subjects looked back, confronting the means used to represent them. This dynamic shaped the birth of American photojournalism, early cinema, and the changing life of print culture as well as the work of such figures as Stephen Crane, Henry Roth, Ben Shahn, Allen Ginsberg, Martha Rosler, and LeRoi Jones. How the Other Half Looks examines the practices of observation that emerged from this critical site of encounter, showing how they have informed changing narratives of America, its citizens, and its possible futures.

Awards and Recognition

  • Honorable Mention for the James Russell Lowell Prize, Modern Language Association
  • Shortlisted for the MSA Book Prize, Modern Studies Association