RESEARCH SEMINARS IN CULTURES OF PHOTOGRAPHY

AUTUMN TERM 2015

Edith Murphy Building, Tuesdays, 4-6pm

Please see room numbers for each seminar

October 20, 2015 – Edith Murphy Building, room 4.09

Dr Sudeshna Guha (Tagore Research Scholar, National Museum, New Delhi, India)

Visual Histories, Archaeological Constructs and the ‘Indian’ Pasts

Sudeshna GuhaThis seminar explores the photographic visualisation of the absent past in Indian Archaeology and the ways in which archaeology’s visual documents become artefacts of history. It focuses on little-known histories of antiquarian practices, exhibitions of foreign collections and excavations of civilizational traditions, in the nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century India. The ways through which archaeological scholarship uses transcriptions of vision, and the practices of archaeological explorations and excavations, demonstrate ways in which ideological notions, including of heritage and legacies, are transformed into material evidence.

November 10, 2015 – Edith Murphy Building, room 1.28

Dr Lucie Ryzova (University of Birmingham)

Portrait of the Martyr as a Young Man: The Social Lives of Photographs in Revolutionary Egypt

Lucie RyzovaThis paper looks at the social lives of photographs of young Egyptians who died in the revolution’s many events over the past (almost) 5 years. They have become martyrs: their ordinary ID photographs or private snapshots have been elevated to the status of public icons. But becoming a martyr is a social process predicated on specific choices and practices of engaging with photographs. The paper traces social lives of these photographs across several different social contexts. Across these contexts, the same photograph is often repurposed and remediated in very different ways, addressing different audiences and needs.

December 8, 2015 – Edith Murphy Building, room 4.09

Dr Christina Rigg (University of East Anglia)

Shouldering the Past: Photography and Archaeological Labour at the Tomb of Tutankhamun

Christina RiggThis paper uses photographs from the 1920s excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb to explore the visualization of archaeological labour. Most of the relevant images remain unpublished, even online, while others were widely reproduced, since the British excavators had a contract with the Times. What was the proper work of archaeology, who performed it, and how have representations of this labour laid claims to scientific knowledge and the care of ‘cultural heritage’? The Tutankhamun photographs suggest alternative narratives of the discovery – but their archival trajectory arguably has yet to realise their potential to revisit and re-vision the practices through which archaeology shaped its methodologies, its knowledge base, and the modern world.

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