ELCS6036 - History and Photography
Value: course units
Tutor: Dr Eleanor Chiari
Assessment: 3 hours desk examination.
From its very invention photography has been seen as a controversial
medium for its relationship with time and its power as an iconic
instrument for representing history. As we move into the digital era and
photographs are ever more present in our daily lives it becomes
particularly important to look critically on the medium and to consider
its implication for our understanding of history.
This module aims to
introduce students to the rich literature and theory on the relationship
between photography and history. Starting with the first daguerreotypes
reporting on the Civil War in the United States and ending with the
Guardian Eyewitness daily photo app, each lesson will be structured
around a specific theme (and/or a specific photograph or set of
Themes covered will be: Photography and modernity,
photography as evidence, photography and mourning (particularly around
the debates about the ghostly photo-apparitions that became popular
after the First World War), photography censorship and the alteration of
history (as in Stalin’s photographic purges of his enemies), the
fetishism of the photograph/photographed in celebrity culture,
photography the self and the family album, war photography and the role
of newspapers in shaping history, photography and forgetting,
photography, the internet and new technologies.
Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:
- Eduardo Cadava, Words of Light: Thesis on the Photography of History, Princeton University Press, 1997.
- Marianne Hirsch, Family Frames: Photography, narrative and postmemory, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1997.
- Susan Sontag, On Photography, Penguin Books, London, 1971.
- Mary Warner Marien, Photography: a Cultural History, 2nd edition, Lawrence King Publishing, 2006.
- Liz Wells ed., The Photography Reader, Routledge, New York, 2003.
Initial Secondary Bibliography:
- Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, Vintage Classics, 1993.
- Bonnie Brennen, Picturing the Past: Media, History and Photography (History of Communication), University of Illinois Press, Champaign, 1999.
- Elizabeth Edwards, Raw Histories: Photographs, Anthropology and Museums, Berg, Oxford, 2001.
- Jorge Lewinsky, The Camera at War: a History of War Photography from 1848 to the present day, Allen, London, 1978.
- Naomi Rosenblum, A World History of Photography, Abbeville Press, New York, 2007.
- Robert Sobieszek, The Art of Persuasion; A History of Advertising Photography, Abrams, New York, 1988.