“Terrible in its Beauty, Terrible in its Indifference”: Postcolonial Ecocriticism and Sally Mann’s Southern Landscapes
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Alan C. Braddock
Susan V. Webster
Sally Mann (1951- ) has spent forty years photographing scenes in the American South, including domestic scenes, landscapes, and portraits. Although scholars generally interpret her work as a reflection of the region’s history of violence and oppression, my research will consider her work through the lens of postcolonial ecocriticism. In her art and writing, Mann portrays the land as an indifferent witness to history, a force intertwined with humanity, lending matter for human lives and reclaiming it after death. However, she also describes the way the environment interferes with her the antiquated technology she uses, creating dramatic flaws that imbue the landscapes with emotion absent from the scenes themselves. My research offers new perspectives on Mann’s body of work, especially the way she grants agency to the environment, thereby giving a voice to silent ecologies or silenced histories.
© The Author
Keller, Laura, "“Terrible in its Beauty, Terrible in its Indifference”: Postcolonial Ecocriticism and Sally Mann’s Southern Landscapes" (2018). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. William & Mary. Paper 1530192830.