Photography and the assembly of academic studies of the past
Sara Perry (University of York)
Paper short abstract:
Drawing upon examples of key photographers and photographic distributors from the history of heritage and archaeology, this paper traces the role of the photographic image/process in creating heritage scholarship and pushing the boundaries on everything from publication practices to research paradigms.
Paper long abstract:
Photographic practice is inextricably linked to the earliest construction and ongoing sustenance of heritage studies in the university sector. Its development and application are implicated not only in ways of seeing and aestheticising the past, but in marketing and promotion, student recruitment, staff retention, intellectual creativity, departmental growth and overall disciplinary (re)production. Drawing upon examples of key photographers from the history of heritage and archaeology, including a long legacy of practitioners from London's Institute of Archaeology (beginning with the pioneering Maurice 'Cookie' Cookson), this paper traces the role of the photographic image/process in creating heritage scholarship. Alongside reference to the genealogy of mass producers and circulators of photographs (e.g., National Geographic to Pinterest), I attend to the place of these visual media in pushing the boundaries on everything from publication practices to research paradigms. Ultimately, I aim here to provide an overview of photography's entanglement in many of our most basic disciplinary structures, and at once, to interrogate the impact that its institutionalisation had - and continues to have - on contemporary knowledge-making in academic circles and beyond.
Critical Heritage and Photography