American Multiculturalism in the 20th Century: Dr. Javier Escudero’s “Pierre Fatumbi Verger, USA 1934-37”

November 5, 2022

Unlike typical depictions of the white American hardships during the Great Depression, French photojournalist Pierre Fatumbi Verger introduces a new lens through which to understand the multiculturalism woven into the fabric of the United States in the 1930s. As the second speaker for the CLAIS Colloquium Series this year, Dr. Javier Escudero Rodriguez offered a view into Verger’s journey across the United States, honoring his ability to use his photojournalism to construct a new, thoughtful visual identity of the country for international viewers.

Dr. Escudero’s lecture provided a glimpse into his new book Pierre Fatumbi Verger, United States of America 1934 & 1937, which showcases Verger’s ability to represent racial and cultural diversity in the U.S. through his depictions of daily life of minority populations. His book contains rediscovered photographs and interpretations that highlight Verger’s profound empathy and technical skill in both capturing the struggles of segregation, while also celebrating the beauty of African, Asian, Mexican, and Native American communities in the U.S.

Despite the extensive archives available of Verger’s work, Dr. Escudero selects lesser-known, human-centered photographs to create a thought-provoking collection. Javier Escudero Rodriguez, PhD, is an author, former professor, and founder and director of Brazil Cultural, offering academic and study abroad programs across South America, the Iberian Peninsula, and North Africa. Dr. Escudero’s book Pierre Fatumbi Verger, United States of America 1934 & 1937 will be available starting November 8.