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Dr. Deanna Ledezma successfully defended her dissertation!

Louis Carlos Bernal, portrait of Elina Laos Sayre, black-and-white photograph, c. 1983, Tucson, Arizona.

Congratulations to Dr. Deanna Ledezma, who successfully completed and defended her dissertation!

The Department of Art History is proud of the accomplishments of Dr. Deanna Ledezma who recently completed and successfully defended her dissertation on February 4, 2022. Congratulations Deanna! Deanna's dissertation is entitled "The Fecundity of Family Photography: Histories, Identities, Archival Relations." The co-chairs of Deanna's dissertation committee and her primary advisors were Professor Ömür Harmansah, Associate Professor of Art and Architecture of the Ancient Near East, Archaeology, and Material Culture Studies, and Professor Jonathan Mekinda, Associate Professor of Design History.

Here is Deanna's dissertation abstract:

Commonplace to the extent that their existence is frequently taken for granted, the ubiquity of family photographs propels simplistic understandings of their forms, uses, and meanings. The reliance upon subject matter to delineate the category of family photography, for instance, perpetuates normative notions of family. “The Fecundity of Family Photography: Histories, Identities, Archival Relations” argues that neither image content, nor placement, nor a feeling of affiliation alone determines whether a photograph is, has been, or will become a family photograph. No photograph is fixed within a familial classification. Beginning in the late nineteenth century and concluding in the present day, the dissertation chapters are situated in multiple regions of the United States, including the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Southwest, and Texas Hill Country. Anticipating how superficial resemblances contribute to anachronistic correspondences and the erasure of meaningful differences concerning race, ethnicity, gender, and class, this dissertation analyzes the social and historical contexts in which photographic materials were produced, circulated, and continue to be seen. “The Fecundity of Family Photography: Histories, Identities, Archival Relations” explicates how the uses and ways of relating to photographs redefine and reframe what is regarded as a family photograph and what “counts” as family.