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ERIC Number: EJ743183
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 13
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0047-6765
Visual Indictment: A Contextual Analysis of "The Kallikak Family" Photographs
Elks, Martin A.
Mental Retardation: A Journal of Practices, Policy and Perspectives, v43 n4 p268-280 2005
"The Kallikak Family" is a pre-eminent text in the history of mental retardation and psychology in which Goddard (1912) claimed he proved the heritability of feeble-mindedness and the necessity of institutionalization. The book contains 14 photographs, some of which have been retouched. These photographs were interpreted in this paper within the context of clinical photography of the feeble-minded during the eugenics era, and the conclusion was made that the photographs are masterpieces of visual indictment propaganda that worked on the levels of assumed scientific objectivity, hovel imagery, mutually amplifying juxtapositions, stereotypic images of imbecility, and religious symbolism to achieve persuasiveness. A resolution of alleged "skullduggery" surrounding the retouching is presented.
American Association on Mental Retardation. P.O. Box 7065, Lawrence, KS 66044-7065. Tel: 785-843-1235; Fax: 785-843-1274; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A