Papers proposals are being sought for a panel, “Before and Behind the Lens: Global Perspectives on the Gender of Photography” to be held at the American Historical Association (AHA) Annual Meeting, from January 3-6, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois.
Recent scholarship has uncovered new histories of women’s participation in professional photography beginning circa 1840. While such work has increasingly added women’s work and labor into the history of photography, it has also made critical interventions into the practice of the writing of history itself to highlight the gendered nature of photography and the writing of its history. As Griselda Pollack argued in Vision and Difference, “Shifting the paradigm of…history involved...much more than adding new materials - women and their history - to existing categories and methods. It has led to wholly new ways of conceptualizing what it is we study and how we do it.” This panel continues this work, bringing to light women who were involved in the professional practice of photography while addressing the practices of writing history that have contributed to the continued denial of women’s lived experiences with photography.
Papers will suggest that this interest in women in the photographic profession is a means to re-think and re-write the history of photography to ask how it changes when photographic narratives are approached from the perspective of the women in the field. As we recover the participation of these women, the papers here will begin to understand the gendering of the practice of photography and why we (as a field) continue to see the women professional photographers as producing work for reasons that are necessarily “other” from male counterparts. This includes acknowledging the contribution of women photographers who operated early commercial photographic studios, producing aides-de-memoire, propaganda (e.g. advertising), edited photographic magazines and newspapers, and so forth, the type of work that was (and is) the primary output of commercial photographers in general. Papers might look into a particular gendered photographic practice, the miss-memory of the history of photography, the othering of women within photography circles, or focus on the self and body in relationship to the gendering of photography. We are especially interested in perspectives from around the globe and across time period, with the goal of bringing to light the stories of female photographers, to intervene into the practices of writing history and understand how we can move forward and examine long-held assumptions on the limitations of women in the field.
Please send a 300 word abstract, paper title, and CV to Kelly McCormick (UCLA) at Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org and by February 5th.
Interested participants are encouraged to contact Kelly McCormick with any questions of possible ideas for presentations.