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Call for Panelists for the session ‘VISUALIZING OCCUPATION: ART, FILM, AND PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE POSTWAR PERIOD’ at the 2019 American Historical Association 133rd Annual Meeting (AHA 2019), Chicago, Illinois, 3-6 January 2019

Session conveners:

Abby Lewis: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jennifer Gramer: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Pamela Potter (chair): University of Wisconsin-Madison

In 1945, the European continent (among other places) was a mass of rubble and debris, chaos and displacement. Recent literature has questioned the static nature of the Zero Hour paradigm, instead choosing to examine the messy strands of both continuity and change that characterized the immediate postwar period. The session prioritizes the role of the visual – not just fine art, but also film and photography – during this period of transition, transformation, creation, and suppression, in Europe.

This interdisciplinary session aims to examine the role of the visual during this liminal stage of occupation. While the American occupation of Germany will be one focus for the panel, we aim to push beyond the geographical and intellectual paradigm of “Germany at the Zero Hour” and toward something more inclusive and beyond the European continent. We are specifically seeking scholars of American, British, Soviet, or Japanese visual cultures.

The following themes or questions, among others, could provide for meaningful discussion within the session:

  1. What was the role of visual culture in either “reeducating” or revitalizing a population devastated by war?
  2. How did occupier and occupied seek to either engage or suppress the political in art?
  3. How did occupying forces use the power of the gaze, through fine art, film, or photography, to confront the destruction of war and the horrors of the Nazi, fascist, or collaborating regimes, with the hope of transforming dictatorship into democracy – or something else?
  4. What might scholars learn from the successes and failures of those attempting to revive or reeducate culture ravaged by not only war, also by the horrors of totalitarianism and genocide?

APPLICATION: Please e-mail us as soon as possible if interested in being a panelist. We will need abstracts of up to 300 words by 8 February.

Contact: Abby Lewis:

              Jennifer Gramer: