UCL Anthropology


War of Images


From the European Reformation to 9/11, images have been at the centre of global political struggles. We tend to think of images as illustrations, second-order exemplifications of something else. The War of Images, by contrast, approaches images as recalcitrant objects, capable of resisting, of generating profound conflicts, and making new worlds. Research in the Department has focused on the role of printed images in the Indian freedom struggle, the political potential of the camera, the political struggles occurring within streetscapes in Tamil Nadu, and the role of street art as a form of political ornamentation participating in the re-imagination of Madrid and other cities.


  • Christopher Pinney, Professor of Anthropology and Visual Culture
  • Dr Rafael Schacter, Honorary Research Fellow
  • Jill Reese, PhD candidate


  • Christopher Pinney ‘Photos of the Gods’: The Printed Image and Political Struggle in IndiaReaktion, 2004.
  • Christopher Pinney The Coming of Photography in India British Library, 2008
  • Christopher Pinney “Notes from the Surface of the Image” and “Creole Europe” both reprinted in Martin Jay and Sumathi Ramaswamy eds. Empires of Vision: A Reader Duke University Press, 2014
  • Rafael Schacter World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti Yale University Press, 2013
  • Rafael Schacter Ornament and Order: Graffiti, Street Art and the Parergon. Ashgate 2014