Justin Carville: Rethinking Race, Colonialism and Social Power in Photography History

Throughout the last three decades research in the field of photography history has been dominated by what might be termed the social power model of photographic historiography. Framed by the Foucauldian theorization of the society of surveillance, the social power model has established a paradigmatic approach to the historical analysis of the role of photography in nineteenth and early twentieth century colonialism, the state institutions of social surveillance and control, and in the understanding of photography's place in mediating social relations between and within socially and racially segregated individuals and groups outside of Western Europe and America. Taking as a case study the role of photography in the racialization of the Irish from the 1860s through to the late nineteenth century, this seminar questions the social power model of photographic historiography to adequately explore the material uses of photography in the social power relations between photographer and subject in colonial situations. Beginning with an overview of the central theories of the social power model the seminar will introduce a number of alternative frameworks through which to rethink historical methods and theories for exploring the relations between photography, race and colonialism.


Justin Carville teaches Historical & Theoretical Studies in Photography and is Chair of the Photography programme at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology. He is a former Government of Ireland Senior Research Scholar in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and Government of Ireland Research Fellow in the Humanities and Social Sciences and has published widely on the history of photography. He has guest edited a special Ireland-themed issue of The Journal of Early Popular Visual Culture, and a special issue of Photographies on globalization and the photographic image. He is the author of Photography and Ireland (Reaktion, 2011) and Visualizing Dublin: Visual Culture, Modernity and the Representation of Urban Space (Peter Lang, 2013).

13 June 2017, 10:30am

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz

Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai
Via dei Servi 51
50122 Firenze


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