British photographic history

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Study day: Around the world in 8 papers /

As histories of photography are increasingly taking into account photographic practices beyond the Western canon, it remains unclear which methodological tools scholars should take on that journey.

Categories and concepts such as colonial photography (including ‘the colonial gaze’) and cultural difference are under critique because they have proven inapplicable in many cases. As a result, the lines between insider/outsider and local/colonizer in imperial and other contexts are increasingly blurred. Established concepts such as authorship are also in flux as power relations of photographic commission and patronage prove to be complex in some less-explored places.

Furthermore, previously canonical models in photo theory seem incompatible with hitherto unknown locally-specific sources that enter the story, for example in the myriad ways photography was perceived in relation to reality. Finally, critical awareness of the self-perpetuating dynamics of archives from former colonial legacies that scholars are using complicates the story further. Just as problematic is the uncontrollable digital realm in which photographs are perceived and circulated globally.

This study day will allow anthropologists, (art) historians, and artists to present and debate case studies from across the globe that will serve as platforms for exploring possible avenues for future research. The regions and countries that will be considered by speakers and invited discussants include the Middle East, Central America, Japan, Egypt, India, China and Uganda, although other places and traditions will also be brought into the conversation.

Image: Photographs being hand-coloured in T. Enami’s studio in Yokohama, c. 1895-97.

AROUND THE WORLD IN 8 PAPERS: ITINERARIES FOR A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY BEYOND THE WESTERN CANON

Study Day sponsored by The Photography Seminar
(Centre for Visual Studies, Dept. of History of Art, and Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford)


Hosted by the Bodleian Libraries’ Centre for the Study of the Book, Weston Library, Visiting Scholars Centre (2nd floor), Broad Street, Oxford

PROGRAMME

Chair (morning sessions): Mirjam Brusius (Dept. of History of Art/Bodleian Libraries)

11am-12pm: COLONIAL ARCHIVES: SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE AND SYSTEMS OF CONTROL

Christina Riggs (University of East Anglia)
This is how we’ve always done it: Photography, Archaeology, and the Colonial Archive

Duncan Shields (De Montfort University)
Colonialism and Photography as Archaeological Conservator in Central America

12pm-1pm: THE EFFECTIVE IMAGE: THE SUBJECT AND THE PHOTOGRAPHER

Lucie Ryzova (Birmingham University)
Camera Time: Reflections of Photography and Cultural Difference in Egyptian Studio Photography

Emilia Terracciano (Ruskin School of Art, Oxford)
(A)civil contract? Famine photography in Colonial India (1890-1943)

1pm-2pm: LUNCH BREAK

Chair (afternoon sessions): Geraldine Johnson (Dept. of History of Art)

2pm-3pm: MARKETS: TECHNOLOGIES AND THE POLITICS OF DISSEMINATION

Luke Gartlan (St Andrews University)
Negating Desire: Circumscriptions of Yokohama Photography

Richard Vokes (University of Adelaide)
Administrative Photography, Futurism, and the Politics of Affect in Late-Colonial Uganda

3pm-4pm: ELUSIVE IMAGES: LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE GLOBAL NETWORK

Oraib Toukan (Ruskin School of Art, Oxford)
When is the Present Concerned? Depicting and Disseminating the ‘Cruel Image’ in the Middle East

Ros Holmes (Christ Church, Oxford)
Is that Leg Loaded? Ai Weiwei, Instagram and the Politics of Networked Images in China

4pm-5pm: COMMENTARY AND FINAL ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION (tea/coffee provided)

Commentary: Elizabeth Edwards (De Montfort University)

Discussants: Craig Clunas, Anthony Gardner, Hanneke Grootenboer, Chris Morton, Richard Ovenden, Anita Paz, David Zeitlyn

Space for audience members is limited. Registration details will be published in early April on:

http://www.hoa.ox.ac.uk/events.html Contact for other enquries: mirjam.brusius@history.ox.ac.uk

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