This conference aims to theorise the relationship between history and the visual image. Pictures and other forms of visualisation have for too long been neglected by historians and left to art or film historians. Mediaeval and early modern historians were among the first to take visual representation seriously; recently it has become vital for historical TV and cinema documentaries but also in the way historians now present their research in Powerpoint at conferences or the lecture hall.
There is however, as yet, no consensus of how best to incorporate visualisation into historical research. Do historians use appropriate methods and concepts in order to operate successfully in areas which go beyond the pure text? How do we imagine/visualize the past? What role did visual images have for historical actors? How do visual images of the past affect the way historians perceive it? Vice versa, how does historical study affect the way we understand a visual image?
As Aby Warburg put it a hundred years ago, perception is culturally constructed and historically specific. Its function in historical works has often been relegated to illustrating historical evidence gleaned from other more conventional written sources whereas the power of the picture is not confined to representing the past but also constructs it. Questions have recently been asked about the authority of the visual image, how it can be invested with normative power and manipulate events for political or ideological purposes.
The concept of `image' can be understood very broadly, for example, comprising both visual representation in all its forms as well as inner images (`phenomenons of social imagination and construction of identity'), textual images, virtual, technical and traditional images. Different kinds of visual representation (paintings, statues, engravings, photographs, posters, documentary and feature films) influence our perceptions of the past differently; i.e. photography may be more inscrutable than, say, a painting. In other words, we need to take seriously the medium not just the message as a topic for historical research.
Confirmed speakers at the event include: Peter Burke, Dawn Ades, Charlotte Behr, Michael Lewis, Kate Reftford, Lynda Nead, Erica Carter, Annie Coombes and Philipp Osten. A full programme and booking form can be obtained by e-mail from Declan O'Reilly: D.O'Reilly@roehampton.ac.uk
The conference, organised by Roehampton's Centre for History and Theory, takes place over two days from 4-5 April and there will be a participation fee of £70 for two days, £40 for one day, and reduced rates of £30 and £15 for postgraduate students.
Dr Declan O'Reilly
Centre for History and Theory
School of Arts
London SW15 5PU Email: d.o
Send comments and questions to H-Net
Webstaff. H-Net reproduces announcements that have been submitted to us as a
free service to the academic community. If you are interested in an announcement
listed here, please contact the organizers or patrons directly. Though we strive
to provide accurate information, H-Net cannot accept responsibility for the text of
announcements appearing in this service. (Administration)