Photography and violence: Call for papers for dossier in Nuevo Mundo/Mundos Nuevos

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Piroska Csúri
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Photography and violence: Representations and disputes
Special dossier of the journal Nuevo Mundo, Mundos Nuevos
Section “Images, memories and sounds”
Editor: Piroska CSÚRI

In the course of human history, violence emerges as one of the most profound and most persistent experiences. Through countless images of violence of different kinds (such as political, state, institutional, racial, ethnic, religious, gender violence, etc.), the different media available for visual representation in each period provide testimony of its ubiquity and its innumerable forms and instances. In spite of the commotion or rejection they might generate, those images have always found an avid audience, as they frequently reveal acts that other sectors of society are trying (for a variety of reasons) to invisiblize.

Since its public announcement almost 175 years ago, photography has forged an especially strong weight in representing violence from the perspective of those that inform on violence and denounce it. This way photography set the bases for a socially committed tradition in photojournalism and documentalism. However, the same technology is also utilized by other social circles (military, political, institutional, etc.) in the service of goals that are far from a condemnation, rather they run from a means of a registering, through (self-)vindication, dissuasion, to directly intimidatory objectives. At the same time, certain social practices associated with such photographic images have been perceived as perpetuators, accomplices, participants, beneficiaries or even perpetrators of violence by remaining indifferent in the face of such acts or by getting involved in the dissemination and aesthetization/spectacularization of images of violence. Similarly, in certain circumstances, the mere act of taking a photograph in itself has been considered a form of symbolic violence. Given these considerations, the different aspects of the relationship between violence and its photographic representation are imbued by a complex network of conflicting codes and interests. These different codes and interests get clearly manifested in the incessant tug-of-war between the inextinguishable insistence on producing, disseminating and consuming such images and the intention to prevent or inhibit their production and circulation through different forms of (self)censorship, by relying on arguments (for or against) that are based on different diverse positions of power, interest, legality, ethics or aesthetics.

The present dossier aims at problematizing the photographic representation of violence, and seeks to investigate the multiple aspects of the complex relation between violence and photography: Under what conditions, in what circumstances, and by whom are photographs of violence produced? In what way, with what codes and criteria (be they of visual nature or not) are different types and acts of violence represented through the photographic image? What are the interests and objectives that act in favor and/or against the production and circulation of such images? How are the conflicts that arise from the confrontation of these clashing codes and interests contested? How do images of violence circulate in different contexts? How do different interpretive communities receive photographs of violence? How do images of violence produced within a certain context and in tune with is specific interests and codes circulate in contexts different from that originally conceived? And, finally, from a methodological point of view: How does one research photographs of violence, and how are these visual source materials integrated with other types of (non-visual) sources?

With the present call for papers the peer-reviewed electronic journal Nuevo Mundo/Mundos Nuevos invites researchers to submit previously unpublished manuscripts (in English, Spanish, French or Portuguese) on different aspects of the photographic representation of physical and symbolic violence in the Americas. We welcome texts from a historical, theoretical and/or methodological point of view that are based on the concrete analysis of a specific photographic corpus of historical or contemporary images.

Reception of submissions: in progress, through October 20, 2013
Please send manuscripts to: Piroska Csúri piroska.csuri[at]gmail[dot]com and the journal Nuevo Mundo / Mundos Nuevos: revuenuevomundo[at]gmail[dot]com
Submission guidelines:

We request that the articles include, whenever possible, the reproduction of the photographic images under analysis (with the corresponding authorization to publish, unless the images are of the public domain).

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