Call for contributions to an edited book on:
Visual Representations of the Iranian Presidential Election Crisis of 2009
SEAN KINGSTON PUBLISHING
• Submission of titles and abstracts: 1 December 2010
• Selection of chapters: 1 February 2011
• Submission of complete chapters: 1 August 2011
• Provisional publication date: Spring 2012
Crises occur and arrive in many forms, and even well prepared organizations will face a crisis at some time during their existence. The Iranian presidential election of 2009 has become one of the most important topics in the history of contemporary Iran. The political and social crises before, during and after this election have transformed it into one of the most important case studies for those who are interested in the visual representation of crisis, crisis communication and trauma studies in the contemporary Middle East.
A year on, visual representations of the presidential election crisis - digital photos, cell phone footage (tekkehy-e film) and pictorial updates from the streets of Iran - still continue to pour into social networking and image-sharing websites. The Iranian presidential crisis has indeed revealed the new and complex role of social media and citizen journalism in the visual representation of crisis.
However, there are disciplines which consider such visual mediums and images as suspicious resources. Despite the privilege given to the authority and presence of documentary photographs and films, these disciplines consider them, ultimately, as just an “image”, a “picture”, which might be manipulated or biased in perspective: it does not fully reveal the “truth” of what it claims to represent (F. Guerin and R. Hallas, 2007). This scepticism has become even more pronounced in an age of greater technological sophistication when digital images can be generated without an original referent.
These disciplines also suggest that it is not only the production and proliferation of such images that generate doubt about their veracity; their modes of exhibition and circulation do little to build our confidence in their truth value. They argue that this iconoclasm that pervades the production, dissemination and philosophy of the image in the twenty-first century is nowhere more pronounced than in relation to images of traumatic historical events, such as the Iranian presidential election crisis. In spite of the ubiquity of public images that bear witness to such events, there is a persistent scepticism expressed towards their capacity to remember or redeem the experience of the traumatised victim.
Therefore, visual representations of crisis and traumatic historical events, especially in such a digitized and virtual world, become an extreme test case for ever-present questions about the “suspicious”, “validity”, “ethical” and “political” status of images in the twenty-first century.
Iranian visual materials relating to the presidential election crisis have the potential to become the sites of analysis and debate for fields as diverse as history, visual history, memory and post-memory, or trauma studies. References to memory are now omnipresent in scholarly discourse and in a wider public debate: ”social memory’, “collective remembrance”, “national memory”, “public memory”, “counter memory”, “popular history making” and “lived history” jostle for attention. (P. Connerton 2009)
Today, a year after the Iranian presidential election, it is not only images themselves but also exciting curatorial and publicity initiatives such as exhibitions, public installations, the World Wide Web and media activism of these traumatic and political events which are now at the forefront of efforts to memorialize, interrogate and, at times, create individual and collective experiences of these events.
In this regard we wish to invite scholars who are working in fields such as visual anthropology, media studies, visual studies and journalism, and who are interested in participating in this publication project, to submit (via e-mail) the titles and abstracts (700 words, Word format) of their contributions to the following address:
Dr. P. Khosronejad
Department of Social Anthropology
71 North Street
University of St. Andrews
Scotland KY16 9AL
Tel: +44 (1334) 461968
Fax: +44 (1334) 462985
Some of our main topics of interest centre on:
• The role of Iranian media communication in the pre- and post-presidential election crisis;
• The importance of media relations, online social networking (weblogs, Twitter, Facebook, email messages, etc.) and image-sharing websites in visual representations of the Iranian presidential election crisis;
• “Media richness theory” and its influence on visual representations of the Iranian presidential election crisis;
• “Citizen journalism” and its role in visual representations of the Iranian presidential election crisis;
• The influence of visual representations of the Iranian presidential crisis in the construction of historical trauma;
• “Image restoration theory” and the death of Neda Agha-Soltan;
• The role of digital technology in the manipulation and distortion of the realities of the Iranian presidential election crisis;
• The role of visual representations of the Iranian presidential election crisis in the construction of historical memory;
• The reactions and positions of Iranian independent documentary filmmakers during the Iranian presidential election crisis.
Even though we are specifically interested in the above topics, other themes proposed could also be taken into consideration.
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