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cfp: Photographs, Ethics and Africa on Display

Photographic collections or 'archives' from Africa and its diasporas are increasingly en vogue among researchers and curators internationally. What is less often discussed are the sensitive issues involved in repackaging such image objects for display in new contexts and for broader audiences in terms of historical time,  geographical place, or cultural location. For instance, copyright is usually understood to reside with the commissioner of a studio portrait but this has not usually been respected with regard to African collections that often fetishize their authors and individual collectors, with negatives used to reprint original images. Private family photographs are regularly repackaged to represent or condemn national culture.

There are are also rights over personal images, beyond legal definition, which are more moral, spiritual, or cultural in dimension.

In some cases, older images have been subject to local iconoclasm because they are not perceived to fit local definitions of propriety today. And yet, there are good historical reasons for wanting to display these images today, because, as in the case of studio photography, they show the world a kind of kind of positive self imaging as an antidote to afropessimism. This panel will discuss ways to work with this material in new ways, with both empathy for the subjects depicted and sensitivity to contemporary views on images.

CFP: Panel— Photographs, Ethics and Africa on Display

DEADLINE: Friday, 9 JANUARY 2015

Where: European Conference on African Studies, Paris, France

When: 8-10 July 2015

Convened by: John Peffer (Ramapo College) and Kris Juncker (University of Warwick)

Title: Photographs, Ethics and Africa on Display

Please submit your abstract through:


You will need to provide:

- Your name, first name, email and institutional affiliation;

- The title of your presentation (in English); An abstract of your presentation in English, French or Portuguese (maximum 1500 characters).


If you have questions, please contact:

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