Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Rhee

Second Advisor

Dr. Marcel Cornis-Pope

Third Advisor

Dr. Oliver Speck


The nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw the development of technologies for externalizing human memory beyond writing, painting, and sculpting. These modes of visual representation, namely photography and cinema carried with them a purported objective representation of reality, which has been used to create classifications, divide people groups, and construct grand historical narratives used to marginalize those that do not fit within the hegemonic center. Looking to the works of writer W.G. Sebald, and filmmaker Chris Marker, we see a complication of the divide between visual and verbal texts, as each artist deconstructs their own medium’s conventions. Using theories of ekphrasis to draw connections between verbal and visual representation, we see how Sebald and Marker explore notions of memory, identity, and history as they struggle with the impossibility of representing the great traumas of the twentieth century.


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VCU University Archives

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VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Available for download on Sunday, May 04, 2025