‘These Are Our Stories’: Global Expressions of “Other” Histories, Narratives, and Identities in Photographic Albums
Call for Book Chapters for Proposed Volume
Despite their lively expressions of social histories, personal and group identities, and of family cohesion, photographic albums made by “the Other” rarely receive extended scholarly study.
In our histories, subjects and album-makers whose albums and images express a difference based on gender, sexual orientation, class, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and disability, for example, have been shunned in favor of exploring album practices by a Victorian-era upper class, or a twentieth-century, Euro- and U.S.-centric middle class dazzled by “Kodakification.”
This proposed volume seeks papers addressing a range of photographic practices by “Others” from around the globe, from any time period, and from a variety of social/cultural contexts, whose albums present narratives that move beyond those reflected in our existing histories. We are particularly interested in the visual strategies that album makers have used to assert control over the presentation of their histories and identities, and what those narratives have to say.
Questions of specific interest may include: To what degree (and via what processes) have photographic albums allowed marginalized people a greater level of agency in the recording of their representation than that which existed before the 1839 invention of photography? On the other hand, to what degree (and via what processes) have albums fostered the inculcation of conformist ideas (or their opposite) about the expected appearance of individuals, families, and communities? How do albums create alternative spaces for the private expression of identities not always acknowledged in the broader photographic media? Or, may domestic albums reinforce in private the photographic norms circulating in public? In what ways might the migration of albums to digital platforms have changed the function, circulation, narrative functions, and expectations of photographic albums?
Proposals can focus on single albums as unique case studies or on broader album-making traditions in a period and/or location. A range of methodologies and international contexts are encouraged.
Please direct questions to Mary Trent (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Kris Belden-Adams (email@example.com). E-mail proposals of 250 words (plus 1-2 images, as needed) and cv to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by 4/1/20.