PHRC Annual Conference 2017 – Call for Papers

Call for Papers

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to phrc@dmu.ac.uk no later than Friday 3 February 2017.

Diverse Migrations: Photography out of Bounds

phrc2017

Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

19-20 June 2017

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @PHRC_DeMontfort

Conference hashtag #PHRC17

The consequences of the expansion of photographic practices around the globe are many and varied. Social interactions through and with analogue and digital photographs and the platforms across which photography is shared and disseminated keep challenging traditional socio-cultural boundaries. For its 2017 conference, Diverse Migrations: Photography out of Bounds, PHRC is particularly interested in how these processes affect peoples whose photographic histories are currently understudied. These may be (but are not limited to) African, Central American and Middle Eastern cultures.

Diverse Migrations: Photography out of Bounds seeks to interrogate what social and other meaningful photographic practices emerge when photographs cross boundaries, and move between individuals, places, and distinct cultural environments. Paper proposals may concentrate on the following themes and other related subject matters:

  • transnational and/or emerging photographic practices
  • cross-cultural knowledge exchange through photography
  • migrations across media
  • sharing and exchanging photographs
  • global forums for photography and its theorisation

Papers are welcome from all career stages.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to phrc@dmu.ac.uk no later than Friday 3 February 2017.

Re-imagined Communities: Understanding the Visual Habitus of Transcultural Photographs

Photography and the Greater Middle East

Tuesday, November 29, 2016| Clephan Building, room 2.30, 4-6pm

Open to all – just turn up!

carolineCaroline Molloy (PhD Candidate at the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, Birkbeck, University of London) will deliver the second talk in this term’s Research Seminars in Cultures of Photography series.

The autumn 2016 seminar series is dedicated to the theme of Photography and the Greater Middle East. Caroline Molloy’s talk, Re-imagined Communities: Understanding the Visual Habitus of Transcultural Photographs, will explore migrant transcultural identities. Caroline will discuss her ongoing MPhil/PhD research that explores how the photographic studio can contribute to migrant identity formation. Using the London-Turkish community as a case study, her research draws from multi-sited ethnographic research within the photo-digital studio. Looking at the photo-digital studio photograph as a discursive cultural object, Caroline considers the “anthropology of the image” in relation to cultural practices within the community and relevant scholarly literature. She builds on existing literature that explores the impact of the diaspora on migrant communities, raising questions about imagined communities, nation-ness and identity formation. In her talk, Caroline will argue that the photographic studio is a transformative site, where the construction of cultural and cross-cultural identity is performed. In doing this, she will reason that the identities performed are neither specifically English nor Turkish, but an alchemy of what one of her research participants called “London-Turkish identity”.

In case of queries contact Dr Gil Pasternak gpasternak@dmu.ac.uk

 

Faces of Insurgents: Encountering the Taliban through Judith Butler’s Ethics and Jacques Rancière’s Dissensus

Photography and the Greater Middle East

Tuesday, October 18, 2016| Clephan Building, room 2.30, 4-6pm

Open to all – just turn up!

taliban

Dr Jenifer Chao (Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University) will deliver the first talk in this term’s Research Seminars in Cultures of Photography series.

The autumn 2016 seminar series is dedicated to the theme of Photography and the Greater Middle East. Dr Chao’s talk, Faces of  Insurgents: Encountering the Taliban through Judith Butler’s Ethics and Jacques Rancière’s Dissensus, will juxtapose Judith Butler’s consideration of wartime visuality with Jacques Rancière’s thoughts on the politics of aesthetics to analyze a collection of studio photographs featuring Taliban soldiers. Known simply as Taliban, the compilation, published in 2003 as a book collection, consists of 49 photographs that capture these fighters through studio photography practices that contrast with the visual coordinates of insurgency and warfare commonly portraying them in popular Western media. This deviating visualization propels two ongoing debates in photography concerning its own function and efficacy: first, the ethical force of the medium at the scenes of war and violent conflicts, as discussed by Butler; and second, the status of photography vis-à-vis art which has emerged out of Rancière’s broader examination of critical art. This paper will argue that while these Taliban images might encourage a compassionate visuality informed by Butler’s notions of precarity and grievability, this potential instrumentalization is problematized by Rancière’s aesthetic dissensus, which facilitates a viewing that actually obfuscates legibility and disrupts meaning. As a result, these photographs contest a visual regime that seeks lucidity for the terrorist-enemy by provoking a more perplexing and enigmatic visual encounter with the Taliban.

In case of queries contact Dr Gil Pasternak gpasternak@dmu.ac.uk

RESEARCH SEMINARS IN CULTURES OF PHOTOGRAPHY, AUTUMN TERM 2016

Photography and the Greater Middle East

Clephan Building 2.30, Tuesdays 4-6pm

Open to all – just turn up

talibanOctober 18, 2016| Dr Jenifer Chao (Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University)

Faces of  Insurgents: Encountering the Taliban through Judith Butler’s Ethics and Jacques Rancière’s Dissensus

This paper will juxtapose Judith Butler’s consideration of wartime visuality with Jacques Rancière’s thoughts on the politics of aesthetics to analyze a collection of studio photographs featuring Taliban soldiers. Known simply as Taliban, the compilation, published in 2003 as a book collection, consists of 49 photographs that capture these fighters through studio photography practices that contrast with the visual coordinates of insurgency and warfare commonly portraying them in popular Western media. This deviating visualization propels two ongoing debates in photography concerning its own function and efficacy: first, the ethical force of the medium at the scenes of war and violent conflicts, as discussed by Butler; and second, the status of photography vis-à-vis art which has emerged out of Rancière’s broader examination of critical art. This paper will argue that while these Taliban images might encourage a compassionate visuality informed by Butler’s notions of precarity and grievability, this potential instrumentalization is problematized by Rancière’s aesthetic dissensus, which facilitates a viewing that actually obfuscates legibility and disrupts meaning. As a result, these photographs contest a visual regime that seeks lucidity for the terrorist-enemy by provoking a more perplexing and enigmatic visual encounter with the Taliban.

carolineNovember 29, 2016| Caroline Molloy (PhD Candidate at the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, Birkbeck, University of London)

Re-imagined Communities: Understanding the Visual Habitus of Transcultural Photographs

With the aim of exploring migrant transcultural identities, this talk will discuss my ongoing MPhil/PhD research that explores how the photographic studio can contribute to migrant identity formation. Using the London-Turkish community as a case study, the research draws from multi-sited ethnographic research within the photo-digital studio. Looking at the photo-digital studio photograph as a discursive cultural object, I consider the “anthropology of the image” in relation to cultural practices within the community and relevant scholarly literature. I build on existing literature that explores the impact of the diaspora on migrant communities, raising questions about imagined communities, nation-ness and identity formation. I argue that the photographic studio is a transformative site, where the construction of cultural and cross-cultural identity is performed. In doing this, I reason that the identities performed are neither specifically English nor Turkish, but an alchemy of what one of my research participants called London-Turkish identity.

waltonDecember 6, 2016| Dr Shireen Walton (Teaching Fellow in Material and Visual Culture, Anthropology Department, University College London)

Digital ‘Deep Play’: The Soft Politics of Iranian Photoblogs

A defining characteristic of Iranian photoblogs is their visual-digital playing with dominant images of Iran (domestic and international). Many Iranian photobloggers take, exhibit and frame their digital photographs of everyday life inside the country in ways that seek to visually negotiate the aesthetic and political boundaries of what people (Iranians and non-Iranians, inside and outside of Iran) think post-revolutionary / contemporary Iran ‘is’ and/or looks like. This paper explores the soft political components of Iranian photoblogs. It examines how this particular phenomenon – Iranian photoblogging from the early 2000s to the present – ties into wider visual / political debates concerning Iran and ‘the West’, the political ontology of photography, and the ‘everyday aesthetics’ of online digital photographic practices and cultures in non-western contexts.

In case of queries contact Dr Gil Pasternak gpasternak@dmu.ac.uk

Elizabeth Edwards and other specialists discuss the history of photography on BBC Radio 4

In Our Time with Elizabeth Edwards

BBC Radio 4 dedicated an episode of the programme In Our Time to the invention of photography. Broadcasted on the 7th of July 2016, Melvyn Bragg and his guests, Elizabeth Edwards (PHRC), Alison Morrison-Low (National Museums Scotland) and Simon Schaffer (University of Cambridge), discussed the development of photography in the 1830s, when techniques for ‘drawing with light’ evolved to the stage where, in 1839, both Daguerre and Fox Talbot made claims for its invention. These followed the development of the camera obscura, and experiments by such as Thomas Wedgwood and Nicéphore Niépce, and led to rapid changes in the 1840s as more people captured images with the Daguerreotype and calotype. The Daguerreotype and calotype changed the aesthetics of the age and, before long, inspired claims that painting was now dead.

This episode is now available via iPlayer

Special MA Seminar

Lecture by Sarah Parsons (York University, Canada)

‘Planted there like human flags’: Photographs of Inuit Canadians and Cold War Anxiety

Thursday, 10 March 2016

13.00 p.m. -15.00 p.m.

Portland Building (room 2.3)

Craig HarbourBetween 1953 and 1955, the Canadian government moved eleven Inuit families more than 1500km north in order to establish settlements on remote islands in the High Arctic. The conditions the relocated left behind were already difficult, but the move was devastating for the families involved. They had been enticed by the promise of support in returning to an older way of life. Instead, they found out en route that their families would be split up and dispersed along with four unknown families from another area. The material support provided was inadequate especially considering the terrain was barren and the settlers were moving to an area facing twenty four hour darkness for part of the year.

This move has been referred to by survivors as the planting of “human flagpoles” because the 1950s marked an almost hysterical level of concern in Canada about sovereignty as the nation moved out from the shadow of England and into the shadow of its wealthier and much more powerful neighbor to the south. My talk explores the role photography played in geopolitical strategy and in managing anxiety about Canadian sovereignty and the high arctic. Given that everything that transpired in the coldest theatre of the Cold War took place beyond the sight of all but a handful of people, the relative dearth of attention to photography of this historical period is surprising. This paper examines the circulation of photographs of the Inuit and the Canadian Arctic in the wider context of Cold War politics and probes the way these images of the North stake their power and claims to sovereignty on very different terms than more familiar displays of military might.

RESEARCH SEMINARS IN CULTURES OF PHOTOGRAPHY, SPRING TERM 2016

Hugh Aston Building, Tuesdays, 4-6pm

Please see room numbers for each seminar

January 19, 2016 – Hugh Aston Building, room 2.08

Professor Clare Harris (University of Oxford)

‘Type-cast?’: Rethinking Studio Photography in the Hill Stations of British India

Clare HarrisIt is well known that from the 1860s onwards, individuals from all over the Indian subcontinent were photographed and classified according to ethnic, religious, and caste criteria, and thereby reduced to ‘type’ within the colonial anthropological project. This paper examines a parallel but neglected phenomenon of the late nineteenth century: the production of ‘type’ photography in commercial studios in the Himalayas and its reception in the ‘visual economy’ of the British Empire. By paying close attention to the activities and outputs of photographic studios and considering them as sites of transcultural encounter rather than of strict segregation between coloniser and colonised, I seek to reverse the process of ‘type’-casting that was inflicted on the local actors who performed within them.

February 16, 2016 – Hugh Aston Building, room 2.08

Dr Paul Fox (University of York)

Personal wartime photography in Egypt, 1898—1918

Paul Fox

Geoffrey Gibbs, Aerodrome Motor Transport Section, after 1915. RAFM AC95/121/5

Historians of the First World War have recently turned their attention to ‘personal photography’: the taking of photographs with privately owned portable cameras, and the disposal of the resulting prints in personal photograph albums or collections. The paper will contest the notion that this wartime phenomenon was without precedent by comparing First World War practice in Egypt with the way early portable cameras had been employed by British officers participating in the 1898 campaign to defeat a jihadist uprising in Sudan. The paper will examine how privately owned portable cameras were used in the Sudan, and trace the public afterlife of photographs returned to Britain. It will then turn to the personal photography of members of the Royal Flying Corps based in Egypt during the First World War. It will explore the impact of the proliferation of camera use to include soldiers of all ranks, not least the potential to present life on active service from new social perspectives.

March 15, 2016 – Hugh Aston Building, 4.15

Dr Colette Wilson (University of Westminster) CANCELLED (the seminar will still be held: Kelley Wilder will discuss colour in photography)

Travelling Memories: the Boissonnas photo-albums Salonique et ses basiliques (1913) and Smyrne (1919)

Colette Wilson

Les Quais, Smyrne (1919) In: L’Image de la Grèce. Smyrne. Boissonnas, 1919.

Two photograph albums by the Swiss photographer Frédéric Boissonnas and his son Edmond-Edouard, Salonique et ses basiliques (1913) and Smyrne (1919), capture Salonica (Thessalonika) and Smyrna (Izmir) at crucial turning points in their histories before a chain of events ignited Greek and Turkish nationalism leading to their near destruction. While maintaining an awareness of the ‘locatedness of memory’ within a national context (Radstone), the albums, with their clear focus on Greek-Christian national identity and heritage, arguably function as carefully designed propaganda tools, the aim of which was to create a memory that would travel transculturally (Erll) around the world gaining support for Greece which hoped to unite all the Ottoman lands with Greek populations into a single Greek state, whose capital would be Constantinople. Greece’s ‘Great Idea’ may have died in the flames of Smyrna, but it lives on in the Boissonnas albums and their online presence.