My initial idea for the final project was to look at images from the Stockyard Era of Chicago and attempt to find published photographs depicting the marginalized during states of practicing literacy. I was extremely excited about doing this project because of the tendency of the mass media to other the marginalized in order to sensationalize the subject itself.
It would also have been interesting to see the ways in which the marginalized were presented during practices of literacy as compared to those who were more privileged.
Unfortunately, it was extremely difficult finding such photographs. I think that the fact that it is so difficult to find photos of marginalized groups during the Chicago Stockyard Era reading is actually extremely telling. Since it is a well-known fact that the depictions of people by the media help to shape how the society perceives those people and how they are treated as possessing cultural capital, it can be assumed that it was not in the best interest of those aligned with mainstream media publications to photograph and publish a picture of a small Irish girl reading a book during that time.
It would be interesting to see if the muckrakers photographed and published photographs of similar situations.