Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Lara Deeb

Reader 2

Jih-Fei Cheng

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© 2016 Lauren F Silver


This thesis engages in a counter-visual ethnography, using Alcatraz as a site to examine the workings of U.S. memorialization practices and visuality, specifically regarding carcerality. In examining the U.S.’s most popular site of penal tourism, this ethnography aims to provide new vantages from which to perceive of Alcatraz in relationship to the contemporary carceral moment. This is done in part by analyzing the processes of visuality through which hegemonic meanings of carcerality are circulated and consolidated at the site. The work is to at once see and unsee the ways Alcatraz is visually structured, in the process creating alternative ways to perceive of the site in its historical contingencies and relation with the wider workings of the carceral state.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.