full name / name of organization:
Call for Papers
Durham Centre for Advanced Photography Studies
University of Durham, UK
20-22 September 2007
Following the success of its inaugural conference ‘Thinking Photography –
Again’ (July 2005), the Durham Centre for Advanced Photography Studies
(www.dur.ac.uk/dcaps) invites proposals for a conference on ‘Locating
>From its inception to the present, photography has been haunted by what Allan
Sekula termed the ‘universal language’ myth, whereby the photographic image is
deemed to possess broad cross-cultural currency and to be comprehensible
within conventions shared by a vast trans-national audience. The reliance of
the world’s press on international agencies such as Reuters or Associated
Press means that the same photographs of global events appear in newspapers in
London and Washington, Madrid and Mexico City, Paris and Senegal. This process
of centralisation and globalisation has been accelerated by the advent of
digital photography and the internet, which now allow photographers to submit
pictures to agencies within minutes of their being taken. Photojournalists now
roam the world, filing images of the events which shape it, images which are
then circulated back around the globe.
At the same time, the history of photography has frequently been understood in
national terms, and scholars continue to situate the work of individual
photographers in the context of specific national cultures. There are by now
numerous publications devoted to e.g. ‘American/ German/ Soviet Photography’,
and many of the longest entries in the recently published Oxford Companion to
Photography (2005) are those devoted to a series of ‘national’ photographies:
from Australia to the United States, via (among others) Austria, France,
Germany, Great Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Switzerland.
‘Locating Photography’ seeks to investigate the relationship between national
paradigms and the apparently universal nature of the medium. What is at stake
in insisting on or resisting the national paradigm? Why has it been so
persistent, and can it continue to provide an adequate framework for
understanding the history of the photographic medium in a global, digital age?
Possible topics include but need not be limited to:
•Global language versus national histories.
•Is there such a thing as a ‘national tradition’ in photography? How can it be
•The changing role of the photojournalist: national, trans-national,
•Photography and its institutions.
•Nationalism and internationalism in photographic movements (e.g. the inter-
•Photography and the national imaginary.
Proposals are invited for 30 minute papers related to the conference theme.
Please send a 200-300 word abstract and your contact details by November 30,
2006 to photo.group_at_durham.ac.uk. Notification of acceptance will be sent out
in December 2006.
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or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Thu Oct 05 2006 - 01:55:23 EDT