>From: "LONG J.J." <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject: CFP: Humanising Photography: Durham, UK
>Durham Centre for Advanced Photography Studies
>Durham University, UK
>25-27 September 2009
>In the early twenty-first century, the still photographic image
>continues to be one of the central visual technologies of
>humanitarianism: from the all-too familiar images documenting successive
>waves of famine and disease, through those that bear witness to the
>action and destruction of war, to the photo ops staged in the arena of
>struggles for human rights. Disseminated across a range of media and
>spanning geographical distances and cultural divides, photographic
>images are presented for everyday consumption, produced by practitioners
>often working explicitly in the name of 'humanity' and testifying to
>acts of injustice and states of destitution and abjection.
>And yet: this humanitarian deployment of photography has been vigorously
>attacked from a variety of angles. The contemporary moment is plagued by
>anxieties concerning an oversaturated visual sphere and attendant
>compassion fatigue, a state of anaesthesia said to blunt the
>photograph's political and ethical efficacy. Humanitarian photography is
>predicated on humanist principles even after more than half a century
>spent interrogating and deconstructing the discourses of humanism.
>Within photography theory, not only have there been sustained attempts
>to dismantle ontological notions of photographic reference, but
>documentary has been pilloried as a practice that is profoundly
>implicated in the perpetuation of liberal capitalism. Despite all this,
>however, the fact that photographic images of human suffering,
>deprivation and also resilience continue to circulate and be deployed
>suggests an ongoing belief in their power to affect and ultimately to
>'Humanising photography' is a single-track conference that aims to
>establish a creative forum in which to reflect on the political,
>ethical, historical, and aesthetic questions thrown up by the persistent
>presence of such images in the context of humanitarian discourses. It
>will bring practitioners into dialogue with scholars working in the
>academic fields of visual culture studies broadly construed and
>representatives from humanitarian organizations. Whilst we welcome
>papers exploring salient contemporary issues and case studies, we
>especially encourage those that examine other contexts and histories
>that have been occluded in the contemporary geopolitical moment, in
>addition to theoretically-oriented reflections.
>Possible areas for consideration might include, but are not restricted
>What modes of humanist photography might still be valid in the
>What are the histories of humanist photography?
>What are the tropes, figures and other rhetorical devices at play in
>such photography and what are their effects?
>What is the political and emotional work that is done by this mode of
>photographic display and does it work?
>What are the modes of appeal of such images, whom do they address and on
>How do the modes of circulation and display impact on modalities of
>affect and effectivity?
>Instructions for submission of abstracts
>Please send 500-word abstracts for 30-minute conference presentations
>and a brief biographical note (maximum 5 lines), together with
>affiliation and contact details to: [log in to unmask]
>Deadline for abstract submission: 19 December 2008.
>Notification: by 5 January 2009.
>Professor Jonathan Long
>Director of Learning and Teaching
>School of Modern Languages and Cultures
>University of Durham
>Durham DH1 3JT
>0044 (0)191 3343439
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