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In this essay Solomon-Godeau explores what is coded by absence in The Family of Man, one of the most famous projects in post–World War II photography. Solomon-Godeau examines the recent permanent restaging of the exhibition in Luxembourg and its prior history. For Solomon-Godeau, and drawing on the arguments of Viktoria Schmitt-Linsonoff, this Cold War blockbuster is better viewed not so much as a token of American triumphalism but as a covert symptom of American trauma. The nature of this trauma is complex, occasioned by the war itself, the revelation of genocide, the new threat of nuclear destruction, and the...

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