First Advisor

Carrie Collenberg-Gonzalez

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science and University Honors


Political Science




World Trade Center Site (New York, N.Y.) -- Pictorial works, Photography -- Political aspects -- United States -- 21st century, Exceptionalism -- United States, American National characteristics, John Botte. Aftermath : unseen 9/11 photos by a New York City cop, Joel Meyerowitz (1938- ). Aftermath : World Trade Center Archive




The events of September 11th, 2001 rattled the U.S. public and left them in need of direction when approaching death and grief. Thousands of photographs were taken on 9/11, however, not many were taken of the construction occasionally referred to as "ground zero." In this project, it is demonstrated just how the photographs in two individual projects Aftermath: World Trade Center Archive by Joel Meyerowitz and Aftermath: Unseen Photos by a New York City Cop by John Botte, both perpetuate the myth of moral exceptionalism in the United States post 9/11. Using ideas put forth by Roland Barthes in his works Camera Lucida and Mythologies, the form and content of each Aftermath project are carefully analyzed. A selected set of photographs from each project and the use of the term "ground zero," is also analyzed in this work as a tool for the creation and continuation of myth. By masking certain photographs with tropes of American exceptionalism and survival, these projects can be viewed as propaganda that prepared the U.S. public for retaliation and war without examining the 9/11 attacks any further.


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