International Conference Photography and History

Filippo De Tomasi's picture
Call for Papers
July 1, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Humanities, Social History / Studies

International Conference

Photography and History


15, 16 and 17 December 2021 - FUNCHAL

Colégio dos Jesuítas – University of Madeira (UMa)

Museum of Photography Madeira – Atelier Vicente’s


The International Conference Photography and History is promoted by the Regional Secretariat for Tourism and Culture and the Regional Directorate for Culture / Museum of Photography of Madeira – Atelier Vicente’s, and is co-organized by NOVA Institute of Communication / EVAM Observatory and the University of Madeira / Culture Council.


The relationship between the photographic medium and the discipline of history has been a topic for theoretical speculation and a source for analogies and rapprochements since the second half of the 19th century. However, the debate around the role of images in historiography implies also countless frictions and silences.

If due to its acknowledged transparency and realism photography is apparently a privileged index, being frequently considered a paradigm for the craft of the historian, however, due to its stillness and fragmentary characteristics technical images have generate throughout the 20th century a considerable heuristic suspicion. 

Even though photography has been mostly considered as a documental and utilitarian tool, the renovation that technical images convey to the conception of history itself has lagged behind the expectations foreseen by Walter Benjamin in the 1930s. To foster the debate on photography today, on its social uses, its circulation in a world of images with multiple meanings to history, aims at questioning concepts such as those of fact and event, visuality and truth, real and imaginary.

Hence the purpose of this conference is to envision the role of photography in different contexts – such as the institutional and personal archive, in social networks or in artistic practice -, as a means to stimulate history, here understood as a narrative that questions contemporaneity based on evidences and regimes of thought and visuality from the past.


The deadline for the present call for proposals is 1st July 2021. We invite proposals for a 20-minute presentation, from papers on the topic based on academic researches, to artistic objects and cultural practices examples, from various disciplines.


The conference will include public sessions and online panels.


Submitted proposals for presentations may address the following topics:


- Photography as an index and evidence..

  Archives and iconographical sources: contributions and problematizations to history.

  Circulation and mobilization of images: contributions for local history, in particular, within the Macaronesia region.

  Photographies: their double objectual and imagery dimension – challenges for history.


- Photography as a model for history in modernity..

  Photography and history in the works of Walter Benjamin and his contemporaries.

  Technical image and the discipline of history in historiographical currents of the 20th century.

  Photography, memory and history: intercrosses in the digital era.

- Photography in the post-photography era: disputes around history.

  The concepts of fact, event, real and (post) truth considering images.

  The contributions of memory and visual studies to the concept of history.

  The mobilization of photography by the arts: meanings and strategies to overcome disclaimers.


Submission guidelines


- We invite proposals for a 20-minute presentation in English, Portuguese or Spanish to be sent in a Word document (.docx) containing:

a) Title and abstract of 400 words maximum (no references) indicating whether your contribution is online or not;

b) The name of the author with current affiliation, contact details (email and mobile) and a short biographical note (around 200 words).

Proposals should be sent to no later than July 1st, 2021..

Notification of acceptance will be sent by August, 15th 2021.


Registration fees


- Standard: 40€

Students (upon presentation of student card): 30€

- Online participants: free of charge.


Organizing committee


Ana Gandum

  ICNOVA Institute of Communication / EVAM Observatory


Isabel Stein

  ICNOVA Institute of Communication / EVAM Observatory


Vítor Magalhães

  University of Madeira - Council of Culture


Rita Rodrigues

  Head of the Heritage Studies Section – Regional Directorate for Culture


Vítor Luís

  Museum of Photography of Madeira – Atelier Vicente’s


Ana Lúcia Mandelli de Marsillac

  Professor at Federal University of Santa Catarina / EVAM Observatory


Alzira Tude de Sá

  Professor at Federal University of Bahia / ICNOVA / EVAM Observatory


Scientific advisor


Margarida Medeiros

  Professor at Nova University of Lisbon – FCSH / ICNOVA


For more information and conference updates please visit the site:


For any submission or general questions feel free to contact us by email.


Important dates

Deadline for submission: July 1, 2021.

- Notification of authors: August 15, 2021.


An initiative of:

Regional Secretariat for Tourism and Culture / Regional Directorate for Culture from the Autonomous Region of Madeira

Museum of Photography of Madeira – Atelier Vicente’s


Supported by:

ICNOVA - Nova Institute of Communication / NOVA University of Lisbon FCSH

EVAM - Observatory of Visual Studies and Media Archeology

University of Madeira / Council of Culture