Call for papers: The impact of images: knowledge, circulation and contested ways of seeing

Call for papers:The impact of images: knowledge, circulation and contested ways of seeing

Helena Wulff, University of Stockholm
Thomas Fillitz, University of Vienna

Discussant: Marcus Banks, University of Oxford

Short Abstract
Building on the legacy of visual research in anthropology, this panel
explores the explosion of images in social life from photographs to
selfies, posters, the arts and hypermedia in relation to knowledge
production, circulation and contestation including methods, the market,
aesthetics and ethics.

Long Abstract
Visual research has been a part of anthropology for as long as the
discipline has existed. Film and photography were included in the Torres
Strait expedition at the end of the 19th century and in the 1930s Margaret
Mead and Gregory Bateson famously brought back visual data from their
fieldwork in Bali. Similarly, leading anthropologists early recognized the
social significance of the arts: Boas’ Primitive Art is a milestone beyond
anthropology and works by Firth and Lévi-Strauss, among others, strongly
influenced further research. Contemporary visual anthropology builds to a
large extent on the legacy of these scholars.
Now there is a quickly growing anthropological interest in the recent
explosion of images in social life: from traditional family albums to
selfies, posters, the arts, and the media such as the Internet with
hypermediacy. This panel investigates the social life of images in terms
of aesthetic discourse, the use by political and economic institutions,
the market, transnational flows, the production of alternative visual
systems, visual methods, ethics and copyright.
The panel welcomes papers discussing the following questions:
– What kind of images and for whom? How do specific institutions and
networks require the production of particular images?
– Images as “partial truths”:
a.)Image versus text.
b.)How does the circulation of images between different contexts change
the production of knowledge? This accentuates issues of property rights.
c.)The role of images in political and cultural contestation.
d.)The impact of digital technologies on the perception of images.

ao.Univ.Prof.Dr. Thomas Fillitz
Dept. of Social and Cultural Anthropology
University of Vienna
Universitaetsstrasse 7
A-1010 Vienna, Austria

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