Call for Papers: 2022 Photography Network Symposium — apply by June 15

Intersecting Photographies

Photography Network’s 2022 Symposium, October 13-15 

The second symposium of the Photography Network will be hosted jointly by Photography Network and Howard University in Washington, DC. Depending on circumstances, the event will either be hybrid (in-person and virtual) or fully virtual. We will update speakers and attendees by August 15.

The 2022 symposium theme is “Intersecting Photographies.” Scholarship in the history of photography has until recently focused predominantly on its technical capabilities, patronage, and modes of representation. This focus elides the longer histories of colonialism and imperialism that the medium fosters­—and in which it can potentially intervene. Recent scholarship—including Ariella Azoulay’s “Unlearning the Origins of Photography” (2018), Mark Sealy’s Decolonising the Camera: Photography in Racial Time (2019), and Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie’s (Seminole, Muscogee, Diné) “When is a Photograph Worth a Thousand Words?” (1998)—are among many projects reconceptualizing photography as a site of encounter and exchange, fraught with historical inequities brought by colonizing desires.

The symposium contributes to art history’s ongoing interrogation of photography as a colonizing technology, as well as the exploration of the medium’s ability to promote social justice. “Intersecting Photographies” supports thinkers active in disentangling these histories by foregrounding three kinds of intersections: 1) those between peoples (intersubjective or intercultural); 2) those between photography and other media (intermedial); and 3) photographs, photographers, or photographic subjects that foreground multi-layered representations of social groups and self-fashioning, following Kimberlé Crenshaw’s conceptualization of identity’s “intersectionality.” 

Proposals drawing on these interwoven spheres of concern could consider subjects such as:

·      Methodological questions regarding authority to speak on challenging photographs and themes

·      Social formations and power relationships in the “photographic encounter” and contexts of display

·      Displaying history, colonization, and legacies of imperialism in museums and other institutions

·      The application of decolonization studies and/or digital humanities to archival holdings

·      The archive as a critical site of intersectionality 

·      Intercultural albums as documents and objects of self-fashioning 

Photography Network invites proposals for presentations that broach these and other subjects pertinent to “Intersecting Photographies.” We welcome proposals across disciplines and encourage a broad range of subjects that reflect the geographical diversity of the field. Practitioners and scholars at any stage of their career are welcome to submit their research. We also welcome international scholars but note that the conference will be in English. The symposium organizers are also interested in attracting a range of presentational styles. In addition to proposals for individual, 20-minute papers, we also seek alternative-format presentations (e.g., workshops and roundtables). To encourage variety, applicants may submit up to 2 proposals, provided that one is in an alternative format. We will also host a Pecha Kucha for new research on any topic from students, curators, academics, and practitioners. If you would like to be considered for the Pecha Kucha, please note so in your email submission. You are welcome to apply only to the Pecha Kucha. Conference sessions will be organized around accepted submissions, rather than prescribed themes. 

Please send: (1) a 250-word abstract, (2) a clear indication of preferred format, and (3) a three-page resume or CV by June 15 to the Photography Network Symposium organizing committee: Monica Bravo (University of Southern California), Melanee Harvey (Howard University),Caroline Riley (University of California, Davis), Leslie Ureña (National Portrait Gallery), and Andrés Zervigón (Rutgers University), at photographynetworksymposium@gmail.com. To be considered only for the Pecha Kucha, please email us a 100-word abstract and a short, three-page resume or CV. Notifications of accepted proposals will be sent by email by July 19. The symposium will be held October 13, 14, and 15, 2022. The schedule will be announced by August 1 and will be determined after reviewing the abstracts and finalizing the conference format. Final papers from speakers are required by September 15.

 It is our hope that “Intersecting Photographies” will be live-streamed for those unable to attend because of geographic, financial, or other logistical barriers. ASL interpretation and enabling closed captioning for the live stream will make the symposium further available for those with language barriers.

Note: All are welcome to apply. Accepted presenters must be Photography Network members in good standing at the time of the symposium. Annual membership is $20 (student/unaffiliated), $40 (Affiliated), or $100 (Sustaining Member). Please visit Photography Network’s website (https://www.photographynetwork.net/memberregistration) for more information on how to join. 

Author: Jacqueline Francis

Writer, educator, curator, arts consultant, and occasional artist in San Francisco, California. Follow me on Twitter @JackieFrancisSF and Instagram--jackiefrancissf

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