Note to Self

Note to Self

Before something gets lost, I wanted to make a short list of thesis-related things I want to write about

  • Foucault’s quadrilateral of language

  • Vico’s treatment of the four tropes

  • Eco’s essay on images as a “perfect language”

  • Hayden White’s “master tropes” of history

  • Charles Morris’s delineation of the “science of signs”

  • The historical development of “articulation” in photography

I feel like I should disclaim these short theoretical expositions that I am prone to as “thinking out loud” (or articulating stuff to the blog) rather than any hypothesis etched in stone. This is my thought-space. It helps me to see this stuff on the screen, so I put it there even if it might be incoherent to a general audience.

I try to balance it with material of a greater mass appeal, or at least greater accessibility. But as time grows short on my project, more and more time is spent trying to unravel some pretty severe and intense theoretical knots. My primary project at this time is an exploration of the relationship between photographs and their paratexts (captions or adjoining texts). The end result will be in the form of a historical survey. I have already done the majority of the research and collation on the historical texts, though I have only written about a few of them here. I have been holding back on that end of the project because I really must work out a coherent theoretical framework to hang those observations in.

The text-image combinations of the early twentieth century are fascinating to me—and I suspect that most of my readers would enjoy seeing them. But I don’t want to wax poetic about them; I want to figure out how and why they work.