Seeking Contributions for Special Issue of Early Popular Visual Culture: "Representing and Seeing Time Before 1930"

Justin Clark's picture
Call for Papers
January 15, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History, Theatre & Performance History / Studies, Popular Culture Studies

Call for Contributions to a Special Issue of Early Popular Visual Culture:

“Representing and Seeing Time Before 1930”


Just as it is clear that temporalities are historically contingent and socially and culturally constructed, it is also clear that time has taken different guises in the past and particularly in popular visual culture. Although scholars differ in dating the origins of popular visual culture, much of its development coincided with epochal transformations in timekeeping and time awareness itself. From roughly the eighteenth century onward, the form and content of widely circulated, often mechanically reproduced, images and objects reflected a growing global preoccupation with clock time, deep geological time, historical time, and other temporal modes. While scholars of early popular visual culture have examined the ways in which specific media have embodied and represented new ideas and practices of time, the same question is asked more rarely of popular visual culture before 1930. To what extent were the temporal manipulations of photography and cinema enmeshed or reflect in less quintessentially “modern” media such as engravings and theatre? What was the effect on visual culture of the increasing ubiquity, mechanization, and standardization of time prior to high modernism in the arts and the discovery of relativity in the sciences? Did it register as presence or absence, or a mixture of the two in popular visual culture? How was time re-imagined, produced, and consumed in museums, popular magazines, vaudeville theatres, advertisements, and other popular media? What was the effect on coalescing temporal modalities of increasingly ubiquitous forms of popular visual culture?


The peer-reviewed journal Early Popular Visual Culture seeks original research contributions on these and related questions for an interdisciplinary special issue, “Representing and Seeing Time Before 1930,” to be edited by Justin T. Clark (Assistant Professor of History, Nanyang Technological University) and Alexis McCrossen (Professor of History, Southern Methodist University). Potential topics include, but are by no means limited to: time-notation in print and material culture (e.g. illustrated calendars, almanacs, and holiday cards); representations and exhibitions of natural history and antiquity; mechanical timekeeping and its artifacts; images of urban and environmental transformation; visual memorials and commemorations; representations of death and dying; instantaneity and non-instantaneity in photography and other media; serial or non-linear visual narratives (theater, film, comics, etc.); techniques of temporal representation across media; speculative visualizations of time travel and the future; and depictions of aging and the life cycle.


Prospective contributors should submit abstracts of 250-500 words to before January 15, 2021. Illustrations are encouraged. Drafts of 5,000-10,000 words will be due in August 2021, and publication is tentatively scheduled for August 2022.


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