search the archive
search the archive
‘To fasten words again to visible things’: the American imagetext
full name / name of organization:
American Studies at the University of East Anglia
A two day conference held by the American Studies department at the University of East Anglia
When Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that ‘America is a poem in our eyes’, he was partly expressing the transcendental belief that words and images share a unique and ‘radical correspondence’ that might enable the poet ‘to fasten words again to visible things.’ Walt Whitman answered Emerson’s call for such a poet, cementing the special relationship that still exists in America between the written word and visual image.
The burgeoning discipline of visual studies is perfectly placed to take the exploration of this relationship in new directions. However, there is at present a tendency in such studies to neglect the roots of language in pictures, and to overlook the importance of visual/textual relations to the expression of American character, culture and identity. Whilst the growth of visual studies is an exciting development, ‘visual literacy’ remains a nebulous and confusing term, and as a field of academic study, tends not to generate readings outside a tried and trusted sociological and ideological framework. There is a pressing need for scholarship in image – text relations to be made more various, more theoretically adventurous and more culturally and historically penetrating, and for scholarship to place the study of contiguous images and texts in a much deeper cultural history of visual/verbal responses to film and theatre, to landscape and the built environment, to the visual and plastic arts, to contemporary considerations of mixed media texts, illustrated texts, illuminated manuscripts, and more.
We are very pleased to confirm that our eminent keynote speakers are:
Please send a one-page abstract for a 20-minute paper that may address, but not be restricted to, any of the following:
Naming and captioning
Please send abstracts to Dr Catherine Gander and Dr Sarah Garland at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 28th 2011.