Date of Award

Summer 8-10-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African-American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Lia T. Bascomb

Second Advisor

Dr. Akinyele Umoja

Third Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Gayles


This case study investigates visual representations of social unrest in Black Lives Matter protests in the United States from 2014 through 2020. Using visual content analysis and focus group discussion, this research provides insight on audience reception of protest photography as visual framing devices. This study addresses an existing gap in literature on the effects of photographic framing practices on public perceptions of protest and answers the following research questions: 1) How is Black resistance and political dissent visually represented in the framing of protest events? 2) How do social actors utilize protest photography as a mnemonic device to (counter)frame Black political struggle in the Black Lives Matter era? 3) How do Black spectator-audience(s) interpret and respond to visual representations of Black resistance performed in protest events? The study draws from critical race and standpoint theory to elucidate audience response to protest photography that mediates performances of witnessing.


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