Séminaire : « Towards a Social History of Photoliterature and the Photobooks » (Maison française d’Oxford, 2017-2018)

Seminar at the Maison Française d’Oxford 2017-2018 : « Towards a Social History of Photoliterature and the Photobook »


Programme du second trimestre :

La Maison Française d’Oxford accueille un séminaire sur la photolittérature et le photobook. Organisé par Paul Edwards (MFO/CNRS/LARCA), il se tient depuis octobre 2017 jusqu’à juin 2018. Le programme du second trimestre, ainsi que le rappel de l’argument du séminaire et des informations pratiques, sont retranscrits ci-dessous.

This international seminar brings together researchers working on photography and the book with interdisciplinary approaches, connecting the aesthetic and material dimensions of the photobook with social, economic and political perspectives.

Whilst the scope of the seminar encompasses general aspects of “photography and literature” — such as photographically illustrated fiction, writers’ portraits, the use of photographic activities, products or metaphors in writing — the primary theme of the seminar is the history and current state of the photobook. The aim is to encourage and disseminate research on its social history, its physical forms (including digital), its relations with the art market/bibliophile market, its networks of production, circulation, readership, as well as its engagement with race, whiteness, colonialism, gender and sexuality, and, where pertinent, its ethnographic methods.

Since the end of the economic model that allowed photojournalism to flourish in periodicals over the course of the twentieth century, photographers have increasingly resorted to alternative spaces, and most notably the book. Since the well-distributed publication of Martin Parr and Gerry Badger’s The Photobook: A History (2004), interest in photographers’ books has increased dramatically at auction houses, and the question of “value” has become insistent and complex. Book studies, anthropology, sociology, comparative literature, history of art… different disciplines can help shed light on the social meanings of photobooks, hence the need for an interdisciplinary seminar.

The schedule of talks is fixed and published at the beginning of each term.

Seminar at the Maison Française d’Oxford 2017-2018

2-10 Norham Road, Oxford OX2 6SE

“Towards a Social History of Photoliterature and the Photobook”

Convened by Paul Edwards (MFO / CNRS / LARCA)

Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m. (tea is served at 5 p.m.)

Hilary term 2018

31 January : The documentary photobook

  • Carolin Duttlinger (Wadham College), “Face of a Nation: Portrait Photobooks in the Weimar Republic (1918-1933)”
  • Mark Durden (University of South Wales), “The contemporary documentary photobook”

7 February : Anthropology, photography and book history

  • Elizabeth Edwards (Visiting Professor, V&A Research Institute), “’Dainty and Attractive’: The V&A Picture Books 1925-1938”
  • Christopher Morton (Pitt Rivers Museum), “Photography and the anthropological monograph”

21 February : Photography and the history of art

  • Érika Wicky (FNRS/Université de Liège), “« Trésor d’art en Belgique » by Edmond Fierlants: The Birth of a National Heritage”

7 March : Portraits and literature

  • Sarah Hook (Wolfson College), “In the Shop Window, in the Pocket, on the Mantelpiece, and in the Text: Photographic Card Portraits in the Work of Thomas Hardy”
  • Andria Pancrazi (Oriel College), “’I would give anything for a good photograph taken at the right minute’, A.C. Swinburne and the fetishism of representation”

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