Feeling Photography conference

University of Toronto, 2009

Feeling Photography was an international conference held at the Centre for the Study of the United States, University of Toronto, in the fall of 2009. Plenary speakers included Lisa Cartwright, Ann Cvetkovich, David Eng, Marianne Hirsch, Leo Spitzer, Christopher Pinney, Shawn Michelle Smith, and Diana Taylor. The conference featured four concurrent sessions over two days; the conference program can be downloaded here. An excerpt from the call for papers, below, describes the conference’s goals.

“In the 25 years since the publication of Victor Burgin’s critically important collection Thinking Photography, scholars in both the humanities and social sciences have turned their attention to questions of affect, emotion, and feelings. Whether emphasizing specific affects (melancholy, for example), the circulation of emotions between bodies, or the significance of feelings in public life, this rich scholarship offers new approaches to thinking through the relationship between bodies, images, and publics. “Feeling Photography” will bring together scholars working in a range of interpretive and theoretical approaches to interrogate the relationship between the affect, emotion, and/or feeling and the photograph.

All methodological and theoretical approaches are welcomed. Possible paper topics include, but are certainly not limited to: intimacy, empire, and ‘domestic’ photography; visuality and the haptic; the expression of emotion and photographic representation; affective economies; postcolonial feeling; loss, trauma, and representation; history, photography, and emotion; performativity and the public space of photography; moral spectatorship; structures of feeling; visuality and queer counterpublics; diasporic longing; photography and the commodification of feeling; documentary, feeling, and everyday utopias; racial melancholia; affect and the image; sentiment and representation; technologies of affect; empathy/rapture/longing; meditations on specific states, such as shame/anger/hate/suspicion/fear/envy/anxiety. Successful proposals will tie affect, emotion, and/ore feeling to photography in some specific way.”

Download the complete conference program here

Schedule of Events

Friday, October 16th

8:00-9:00 Registration and Coffee

9:00-9:05 Welcome: Brian Corman, Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Vice-Provost Graduate Education, University of Toronto

9:05-9:10 Welcome: Prof. Elspeth Brown, Director, Centre for Studies of the United States, with thanks to Prof. Thy Phu, Prof. Matt Brower, Nina Boric, and David Sworn.

9:10-10:45 Plenary Session A
Moderated by Prof. Laura Levin, York University

“The Feeling of Kinship: Racial Reparation in Rea Tajiri’s History and Memory”
David L. Eng, Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Asian American Studies, University of Pennsylvania

“Trauma in the Archive”
Diana Taylor, Professor of Performance Studies and Spanish, NYU

10:45-11:00 Coffee Break

11:00-12:45 Panel Session 1

Children and the Political Management of Affect
Chair: Lisa Cartwright, University of California, San Diego
Discussant: Nicholas Sammond, University of Toronto

 “Picturing the Sad-Eyed Child: Producing Orphans, Producing U.S. Foreign Policy”
Laura Briggs, University of Arizona

“Los Compañeritos in a Land of Monumental Children: The Iconography of Havana’s Circulos Infantiles”
Karen Dubinsky, Queen’s University

“Reading “Daddy’s” Pictures: Confessional Lyric Aesthetics and the Challenge of Photographic Subjectivity”
Anita Helle, Oregon State University

Feeling Together: Publics and Counterpublics
Chair: Louis Kaplan, University of Toronto
Discussant: Sharon Sliwinski, University of Western Ontario

“Wojnarowicz’s Grief: Photographs, AIDS and the Public Sphere”
Sally Booth, University of Guelph

“The Relative Affect of Douglas Huebler’s Photographic Portraits”
Heather Diack, University of Toronto

“Naked Sharing: On Felix Gonzales-Torres’ Bed”
John Paul Ricco, University of Toronto

Emotional Geographies
Chair: Christopher Pinney, University College London
Discussant: Joshua Schuster, University of Western Ontario

“Landscape with Figures: National Identity and Emotion in the Post-war Photography of Bill Brandt”
Stephen Brooke, York University

“The Archive and the Afterimage: Shimon Attie’s The Writing on the Wall”
Elisabeth Friedman, Illinois State University

“Havana Through the Lens: Exile, Memory and Dislocation in Abelardo’s Morell’s Camera Obscura Photographs”
Beth Ann Zinsli, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Marketing Emotions: Loss, Fear and (Comic) Loathing
Chair: Shawn Michelle Smith, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Discussant: Gaëlle Morel, photo historian and independent curator

“Kodak’s Death Campaign: Selling Loss Through Terror”
Jessica Catherine Lieberman, Rochester Institute of Technology

“Smiles, Tears… Indelibly Recorded: The Politics of Emotion in the Photographic Studio of C. H. Gallup & Co.”
Tanya Sheehan, Rutgers University

“Reflecting on Fear: Conflict in Image and Text (part of Facing Forward: Stuttgart)”
Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak, University of Toronto

12:45-2:30 Lunch

2:30-4:30 Panel Session 2

Racial Affects
Chair: Thy Phu, University of Western Ontario
Discussant: Michelle Murphy, University of Toronto

“Skin Tone: Race and the Political Affect of the Carnal Medium”
Elizabeth Abel, University of California, Berkeley

“Marcus Garvey in Stereograph: Photography and Diasporic Affect”
Leigh Raiford, University of California, Berkeley

“The Photographic Referent: Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida and Natasha Trethewey’s Bellocq’s Ophelia”
Miriam Thaggert, University of Iowa

Emotional States: Citizenship and Photography
Chair: David L. Eng, University of Pennsylvania
Discussant: Megan Boler, OISE/University of Toronto

“Life-Size Printed Posters of Your Hero’: Photography, Affection, and Citizenship in the FlatDaddy / FlatMommy Project”
Rebecca Adelman, University of Maryland-Baltimore County

“Between States: Feeling and Identity in Chinese Head Tax Certificates”
Lily Cho, University of Western Ontario

“Affective Politics: Photography, Emotional Response and Inuit Agency”
Carol Payne, Carleton University

“Affective Effects: Touching and Being Touched by History in Reformasi Indonesia”

Karen Strassler, Queens College, City University of New York

Instrumental Images: Bodies, Cities and Empires, 1903-1918
Chair: Sarah Miller, University of Chicago
Discussant: Deepali Dewan, Royal Ontario Museum/University of Toronto

“Photographic Fantasies of the Modern City”
Sarah Bassnett, University of Western Ontario

“Sentiment and Science: Social Reform Photography in Harvard University’s Social Museum”
Michelle Lamunière, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard and Boston University

“Bodies of Shame: Dean Worcester’s Photographs of Filipinos”
Mark Rice, St. John Fisher College

“Photography in Neurology and Psychiatry after Charcot: World War I Trauma Photography”
Juliet Wagner, Harvard University

Digital Affects
Chair: Mark Lipton, University of Guelph
Discussant: Kelly Wood, University of Western Ontario

“Polaroid Lolita: Investigating the Relationship Between Emotionality and the Recent Controversial Camera-Phone Self-Portraits of Adolescent Starlets”
Erin Finley, University of Toronto at Mississauga

“Distributed Digital Affects: Photo-Sharing, Tagging and the Lives of Others”
Martin Hand and Ashley Scarlett, Queen’s University

“Archiving Affect: Online Photography and Social Software”
Daniel Palmer, Monash University

4:30-4:45 Coffee Break

4:45-6:00 Plenary Session B
Moderator and Introducer: Elizabeth Legge, Chair, Department of Art, University of Toronto

“School Pictures and Their Afterlives”
Marianne Hirsch, Professor of English & Comparative Literature, Columbia University, Co-Director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender; and Leo Spitzer, Kathe Tappe Vernon Professor of History Emeritus, Dartmouth College and Visiting Professor of History, Columbia University

6:00-7:00 Reception at Campbell Conference Room Lounge (South House)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

8:30-9:00 Registration and Coffee

9:00-10:45 Plenary Session C
Moderated by Prof. Deepali Dewan, Royal Ontario Museum and University of Toronto

“Coloring Time and Space: The Painted Photograph in India”
Christopher Pinney, Professor of Anthropology and Visual Culture, University College London

“Photography Between Desire and Grief: Roland Barthes and F. Holland Day”
Shawn Michelle Smith, Associate Professor of Visual and Critical Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

10:45-11:00 Coffee Break

11:00-12:45 Panel Session 3

Public Intimacies
Chair: Angelica Fenner, University of Toronto
Discussant: Sarah Parsons, York University

“The Space between Men: Same-Sex Affection in 1950s Snapshots”
John Ibson, California State University, Fullerton

“Sontag, Leibovitz, and the Ends of the Photographic Lens”
Karen Jacobs, University of Colorado at Boulder

“Imitation of Life: Intimacy and Superficiality in the Photographs of Annie Leibovitz”
Catherine Zuromskis, University of New Mexico

Touching Photo
Chair: Elspeth Brown, University of Toronto
Discussant: Linda Steer, Brock University

“Lorna Simpson’s Felt Photographs”
Brooke Belisle, University of California, Berkeley

“Touching Elements: Photography, Materiality, and the Sense of Touch”
Marko Karo, University of Art and Design Helsinki

“Touching Photographs”
Margaret Olin, Yale University

Visual Witnessing: Photography and World War II
Chair: Leo Spitzer, Dartmouth College
Discussant: Blake Fitzpatrick, Ryerson University

“Mimesis, Memorialization, and the Photographic Representation of Hibakusha”
Claude Baillargeon, Oakland University

“Battlefield Souvenirs and Moral Spectatorship”
Wendy Kozol, Oberlin College

“Struck by a Bullet! Fashioning the Haptic and the Offensive in Deutschland, Deutschland über alles”
Andres Zervigon, Rutgers University

Feeling First: Documentary and Left Internationalism
Chair: Diana Taylor, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
Discussant: Thierry Gervais, Ryerson University

“Feeling First: El Libre Negro and the Uses of Documentary Imaging”
Sara Blair, University of Michigan

“Far from Vietnam: Susan Sontag and the Documentary Imagination”
Franny Nudelman, Carleton University

“The Circulation of Empathy: Mexican Migrants and the Documentary Structure of Feeling”
Rebecca Schreiber, University of New Mexico

12:45-2:30 Lunch

2:30-4:15 Panel Session 4

Photography, Trauma, and the Ethics of Witnessing
Chair: Marianne Hirsch, Columbia University
Discussant: Roger Simon, OISE, University of Toronto

“Regarding the Pain of the Other: Kevin Carter and the Transference of Affect”
Kimberly Juanita Brown, Northeastern University

“What’s in a Name? Why Photographs of Suffering Generate Disappointment, Resentment and Despair”
Jim Johnson, University of Rochester

Queer Affect(s)
Chair: Ann Cvetkovich, University of Texas, Austin
Discussant: Michael Cobb, University of Toronto

“Affective Surplus: The Photographs of David Wojnarowicz and the Transmission of Radical Sincerity”
Nadja Millner-Larsen, New York University

“Home of a Domesticated Hero – With Feeling”
Leena-Maija Rossi, University of Helsinki

“The Art of Sex: Touch and Texture in Tammy Rae Carland and Catherine Opie’s Queer Photography”
Dana Seitler, University of Toronto

Affective Economies
Chair: Val Williams, University of the Arts London
Discussant: Sophie Hackett, Art Gallery of Ontario

“Feeling Modern: Ira L. Hill, Irene Castle, and the Affective Economy of Glamour”
Marlis Schweitzer, York University

“Affect and Desire in Fashion Imagery”
Eugénie Shinkle, University of Westminster

“Fashion Modeling as Affective Technology: Bodies, Images, Publics”
Elizabeth Wissinger, City University of New York

Facial Tics – Faciality
Chair: Laura Levin, York University
Discussant: Matt Brower, University of Toronto

“Code Unknown: Facial Affect Coding, Photographic Evidence, and the Elision of the Affective Body”
David Benin, University of California, San Diego

“Emotional Subjectivity and Photography in the History of Primatology and Contemporary Animal Rights Culture”
Sean Hawkins, University of Toronto

“A Cry: Disabling the Body, Enabling the Photograph”
Liz Magic Laser, The School of Visual Arts, New York

4:15-4:30 Coffee Break

4:30-5:45 Plenary Session D
Moderated by Prof. Elizabeth Abel, University of California, Berkeley

“Compulsive Expression”
Lisa Cartwright, Professor of Communication and Science Studies and Affiliated Faculty in Critical Gender Studies, University of California

“Photographing Objects as Queer Archival Practice”
Ann Cvetkovich, Professor of English and Women’s & Gender Studies, University of Texas

8:00 pm Concluding Gala Dinner