Disciplinary Power and Contemporary Photography


Author/Creator ORCID




Political Science and International Relations


Bachelor's Degree

Citation of Original Publication


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I began this essay with a preliminary research consultation to help commence investigating photographic art, philosophy of surveillance, and visual imaging – all outside of my major discipline. A few minutes after searching key word terms within these topics and cross-referencing them with WorldCat and the Goucher College Library Catalogue, I discovered two bookshelves devoted to sculpture and photography with themes of surveillance. The titles that emerged from the computer search then revealed a larger extent of sources sitting on adjacent shelves. This experience reinforced for me the value of not just computer searches, but also having a wandering eye in the library shelves. I then turned to Lexis-Nexis for newspaper accounts of art exhibitions to provide a perspective of the work inside the art gallery or internet – one more intimate to the work than a time-removed anthology of artistic works. I also employed Academic Search Premier to conduct more rapid searches for academic articles. The ability to insert key terms and phrases in various combinations, paired with the library’s Internet connection (itself a valuable and taken-for-granted tool), allowed me to quickly peruse dozens of article titles and abstracts. Using Academic Search Premier revealed the research process as funnel-like: the more one researches, the more one refines the search terms and extracts the most precise resources from the search engine. The Research Librarians aided me in replacing abstract philosophical terms with more common synonyms, in addition to answering my questions about proper citation (as this essay represented my first foray into artistic analysis). The acquisition of much of the research depended on a strong network of databases and people within the library, including the research librarians, CTLT, and the front desk student workers. Together, the online and human resources made me feel very comfortable successfully conducting research outside my major discipline.