P14
Constructing and Contesting Imaginaries: Anthropology, Photography, and the Histories of Durable Visual Tropes

Convenors:
Aubrey Graham (Emory University)
Sydney Silverstein (Emory University)
Discussant:
Amanda Ravetz
Location:
Sackler B
Start time:
31 May, 2014 at 13:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This panel examines the relationship of anthropology and photography in the creation, mobilization, and contestation of durable, globally circulated representations of peoples and places with attention to historical, economic, political connections and implications of particular visual tropes.

Long abstract:

Particular representations often become lingering tropes. Through repeated visual and written depictions, peoples and cultures have become knowable to global audiences. Imagined from the outside, such images have formed facets of circulating global imaginaries, often connecting unexpected places (such as Peru and the Democratic Republic of the Congo) through a shared set of photographic and analytic practices. Images served, and still serve, as gatekeepers to the constructed 'others' - creating economies of conjuring, seeing, and discursively engaging geographies and peoples. Historically significant sets of moral and economic issues frame the choices made by image-makers and anthropologists responsible for both early and current formations of cultural and regional imaginaries. Yet, as the circulation of images and image creators increased with the productive and reproductive visual technologies, imaginaries constructed from without have been reconceptualized, played into, shaped, and reformed from within. This panel welcomes papers addressing the intertwining roles of photography and anthropology in creating durable tropes and imaginaries and reproducing them on a global scale. Papers may address, but are not limited to analyses of varied geographic, historical, and political visual arenas in response to: - How anthropology and photography have contributed to enduring (regional or topical) visual imaginaries. - How local interpretations of constructed tropes have reshaped and alternatively engaged global / cliché visual imaginaries. - How visual representations of a place or people have changed over time, responding to global, economic, and political factors, and the roles of anthropological research in producing or preventing these changes.