Digital Project

In Your Face

A Digital Project Mapping Racial and Sexist Visual Stereotypes

This digital archive is part of the larger research project In Your Face. A Research Collaboratory and a Pedagogical Handbook Mapping Racial and Sexist Visual Stereotypes (or In Your Face for short), lasting two years and financed by the University of Florence.

In the subsequent year, leading scientists and early-stage researchers of different expertise and background participating in the COST Action PIMo (CA18140) have contributed entries to this innovative research tool. Multimedia and editorial services (copyediting and layout of textual entries) provided by the PIMo researchers have made possible to considerably expand the contents of the developing database.

Thanks to an interdisciplinary approach, it aims to address the issue of racial and gender visual stereotypes, bringing together various humanistic fields and new informatics tools. For this reason, the team of scholars involved in the study comes from different research areas: from early modern to contemporary history; from social and gender pedagogy to art history. Thus, In Your Face presents itself as a meeting point between different disciplines such as the cultural and intellectual history of the early modern and contemporary age, the history of racism and anti-Semitism, gender studies, visual culture, the history of emotions, and gender education.

Some of the main goals of this synergic study, which has a particular focus on images, are: to collect a repertoire of stereotypical visual documents useful for further investigation and comparison; to explore the complex intertwining of visual sources and prejudices about otherness; to analyse the circulation, manipulation, and reuse of the same iconographic models in different periods and ideological contexts. Significantly, the chronological terms of the project range from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century, with the ambition to overcome the traditional boundaries of disciplinary sectors and demonstrate the legacy of a centuries-long culture of sexual and racial discrimination: from representations of blackness and African cultures to the iconography of Jews and visual stereotypes about women.

The database In Your Face, which is freely accessible online both for the academic community and for a broader public, collects heterogeneous documents such as engravings, periodical illustrations, caricatures, satirical cartoons, postcards, children’s materials, and more, which had been previously analysed, catalogued, and digitized. In short, it allows to follow the figurative thread in real terms, simply by browsing the site: a new tool, able to investigate the subject of visual stereotypes from a broad perspective and to highlight the possible genealogies, circulation, and resemantization of the different iconographic solutions. In the next phase of the project, a short description with essential bibliography will be added to each entry.



The database In Your Face is based upon work from COST Action ‘People in motion (PIMo): Entangled histories of displacement across the Mediterranean (1492–1923)’, CA18140, supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).

COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding organisation for research and innovation networks. Our Actions help connect research initiatives across Europe and beyond and enable researchers and innovators to grow their ideas by sharing them with their peers. This boosts research, innovation and careers.