Call for Papers

Photography, Migration and Cultural Encounters in America

Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Dun Laoghaire

June 20th – 22nd 2018

CFP Deadline: 29th March 2018

 Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Tina Campt (Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Africana and Women’s Studies, Barnard College)and Carol Williams( Professor of History and Women and Gender Studies and current Executive Director of the Centre for Oral History and Tradition at the University of Lethbridge, in Treaty 7 Territory,Alberta)

The exploration of photography and migration has emerged as a significant topic within a range of humanities and social science disciplines over the last decade, demonstrating a growing interest in exploring the intersection of questions around human displacement and the cultural configurations of diasporic experience and identities through the frameworks of photography studies, visual studies and art history. Significant scholarly work has emerged which has identified historical and contemporary patterns of representation of migration in photographic media, the role of photography in documenting refugees, and the advocacy and activist responses of artists/photographers to the global humanitarian crises of mass migration which have shaped international relations throughout the first two decades of the twenty-first century. While the focus on questions of representation remains important to understanding how photography shapes historical and contemporary perceptions of migration, relatively little scholarly work has explored how photography has been mobilised within and between migrant and diasporic communities themselves to mediate experiences of displacement, belonging and identity.  While photographers from European, African, Asian and Middle-Eastern backgrounds have formed part of the canon of American photography, for example, within the historiography questions around how photography has been socially and aesthetically transformed through its role in mediating cultural encounters, or how the photographic image has contributed to meliorating cultural transformation of migrants to America have not been thoroughly explored.  This conference seeks proposals that both address this lacunae in the historiography of photography and bring into productive dialogue frameworks from the fields of migration and diaspora studies, visual studies and the aesthetics and cultural politics of the photographic image.

            Part of the TERRA funded project ‘Photography as Contact Zones: Migration and Cultural Encounters in America which asks; “what is the contribution of photography to negotiating cultural transformation within and between migrant communities rooted in America from the 1850s?”, the conference seeks proposals that focus on a range of photographic practices as they are linked to migratory experience. Proposals are welcomed that explore the culturally differentiated uses and signifying practices of everyday photographic materials and technologies in migrant communities; the use of photography by migrant communities in America to meliorate cultural dislocation both from their homeland and/or globally dispersed relations, and the nations, communities and places in which they have ‘settled’ or ‘temporarily reside’; examine how cultural exchange is negotiated in everyday life through vernacular and familial photographies; analyze the role of photography in evidencing the social upheavals, frictions and longings of migratory cultural experiences; address how migrants creatively fashion shared photographic materials to communicate diverse cultural experiences.

In addition proposals may address the questions; How do culturally distinctive uses of photography contribute to shaping new identities among migrant communities in America?; What role do the circulation of photographic images play on the retention of collective memories, myths and historical narratives among migrant communities?; How do photographs as material objects maintain familial ties, national and ethnic belonging amongst Migrant communities in America? In what ways do cultural exchanges form culturally differentiated photographic practices amongst Diasporic communities?

Themes and topics may include but are not restricted to;

The role of migration in shaping photographic movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; vernacular and familial photographies; migration and family albums; the trans-national circulation of photographic image-objects; migrant and itinerant photographers; photographic clubs and societies amongst migrant communities; archives and archival practices; photographs, museums and exhibiting histories of migration; photography and diasporic memories; the role of photography in self-fashioning hybrid identities; photography and the formation of race and ethnic identities; transcultural aesthetics and photographic practices; photography and the shaping of diasporic identities; state uses of photography and migration; photography and ‘long distance nationalisms’; American photographers as migrants in Europe, Asia and the America’s.

 

Please submit a proposal of 300-500 words, a short bio, institutional affiliation and email address as an attachment in Word format by March 29th to; justin.carville@iadt.ie . Please include your name and affiliated institution (if any) at the top of your proposal. Selected papers will be included in a publication of conference proceedings and submissions should indicate if they wish their paper to be included in the publication. The proposal should be sent as an attachment in word document format. Selected proposals will be notified by April 3rd.

The workshop is organized by the project “Photography as Contact Zones: Migration and Cultural Encounters in America”, managed by Dr. Justin Carville (Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, in collaboration with professor Sigrid Lien, University of Bergen, Norway.  The project is sponsored by Terra Foundation for American Art.

Questions may be addressed to Justin.Carville@iadt.ie


CFP: Workshop: Exploring photography in the history of the immigration to the USA

 

Keynote Speaker: Carol Williams (University of Lethbridge, Alberta)

 

Photography has been one of the formative ways through which cultural encounters have been visually mediated over time and across different geographical locations. The mass reproducibility and simultaneous distribution of photographic imagery allows individuals to both experience other cultures and to maintain, establish and articulate cultural bonds, form imagined communities, and share cultural experiences across and between nations. However, in the relatively few publications that see migration and photography in a broader, transnational perspective, attention has mainly been directed toward iconic works by canonized heroes of immigrant photographers such as André Kertész, Brassaï, Man Ray, and Jacob Riis. There have few studies that approach migration photography by accounting for its social, cultural and political contexts. One example is Carol Williams’s research on photography’s role in the British colonization of the Canadian Northwest coast (2003), where she argues that photography contributed to constructing cultural and racial difference between settlers and Native Americans. Other examples are Anna Pegler-Gordon’s In Sight of America (2009), which demonstrates how photography shaped the development of immigration policy in the United States, and Anthony W. Lee’s A Shoemaker’s Story (2008), a complex historic narrative which includes addresses issues such as the industrialization of New England, the uses of immigrant-labour and the local rise of photography as a profession. 

 

The workshop Exploring photography in the history of the immigration to the USA aims at taking this discussion further, with a particular focus on “the work” photography is doing in culture. It attempts to establish an understanding of the role of photographs in the many small narratives that make up the history of the migration to the USA from the 1850s-1980. It may thus be thought of as a contribution or a piece to a greater, transnational, migration-historical jigsaw puzzle that is as yet barely begun.

We therefore invite papers which will:

·       Explore the culturally differentiated uses and signifying practices of everyday photographic materials and technologies in migrant communities

·        Examines the use of photography by migrant communities in America to meliorate cultural dislocation both from their homeland and/or globally dispersed relations, and the nations, communities and places in which they have ‘settled’ or ‘temporarily reside’.

·       Attempt to understand the role of photography in evidencing the social upheavals, frictions and longings of migratory cultural experiences, and in shaping new identities in America.

 

A 500-word proposal and a curriculum vitae (including email address) should be received by the organizers by January 15, 2018. Please write your name and affiliated institution (if any) at the top of your proposal. The proposal and CV should be sent as attachments to an email sent to Sigrid Lien at Sigrid.Lien@uib.no . Your participation will be confirmed by February 1, 2018.

The workshop is organized by the project “Photography as Contact Zones: Migration and Cultural Encounters in America”, managed by Dr. Justin Carville (Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, in collaboration with professor Sigrid Lien, University of Bergen, Norway.  The project is sponsored by Terra Foundation for American Art.

Questions may be addressed to Justin.Carville@iadt.ie