The Photographic Situation Project

SSHRC Partnership Development Grant, 2011-14

This funded, collaborative research project began its life as “Photography and the Transnational Politics of Affect,” a networking project that linked photo scholars in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. In January 2012 we renamed this collaboration “The Photographic Situation Project,” after the work of Ariella Azoulay. Parts of our group are meeting in September 2012 in Toronto; in December 2012 at Rutgers; and in January 2013 at the Durham Centre for Advanced Photography Studies, Durham UK. We’ve produced a short document discussing what we mean by “the photographic situation,” which acts as a framing device for our work together; you can find it below, along with a list of participants and further information about the project. Visit the Photographic Situation Project blog to read the Seven Theses on the Photographic Situation, the conceptual framework which informs the network’s thinking about the question of photography, as well as to find updates about our ongoing work.

This three-year Partnership Development Grant will explore how photography can be understood as a political event that mediates relationships between people, an event whose affective dimensions exceeds both the image frame and the triumverate of operator, subject and spectator.

Funding Organization: Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC); amount: $197,215.00 CAD; duration: 2011-2014. Participants: please see below.

Events

Workshop: September 20-22, 2012: “The Photographic Situation Project Works-in-progress workshop,” University of Toronto.

Grant Participants

Principal Investigator

Elspeth Brown, Associate Professor and Director, Centre for the Study of the United States, the University of Toronto. Professor Brown is a specialist in the relationship between photography and market cultures in the 20th century U.S., and founder of the Toronto Photography Seminar (TPS). She will oversee the fiscal aspects of the grant and organize the communication among participants. She shall take a lead role on the year 3 capstone workshop, and shall act as the Chair of the Steering Committee.

Co-Applicants (also the Steering Committee, along with the Applicant)

Andrea Noble, Professor of Latin American Studies, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Academic member of the Durham Centre for Advanced Photography Studies (DCAPS). Dr. Noble is a specialist in Latin American, especially Mexican, photography and cinema. She will take the lead on organizing the Durham 2012 workshop.

Sarah Parsons, Associate Professor, Department of Visual Arts, York University. A founding member of the Toronto Photography Seminar, Professor Parsons is a specialist in Canadian art and North American Photography. Professor Parsons will supervise the Project Manager PhD student.

Sharon Sliwinski, Assistant Professor of Visual Culture, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, Western University. Also a member of the Toronto Photography Seminar, Professor Sliwinski’s research focuses on photography and human rights. Professor Sliwinski will supervise the Media, Technical and Website Assistant. She will also take the lead on convening the 2011 NYC workshop, with Carol Squiers, Curator, International Center for Photography.

Collaborators

Sarah Bassnett, Associate Professor Department of Visual Arts, Western University. A specialist on 20th century Canadian photography, and a member of the Toronto Photography Seminar, Professor Bassnett will contribute research on the relationship between photography, affect, and urban life.

Marta Braun, Professor, Image Arts, Ryerson University. A specialist on 19th c French photography, and a member of the Toronto Photography Seminar, Professor Braun will contribute research on the relationship between photography, emotion and science. She will also serve as the liason to Ryerson’s photography exhibition activities relating to the Ryerson Photography Gallery and Research Centre.

Matthew Brower, Lecturer in Museum Studies in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. A specialist on 19th c North American photography, and a member of the Toronto Photography Seminar, Professor Brower will contribute research on the relationship between photography, affect and human/animal divide. He will also provide curatorial expertise in relationship to our research endeavors.

David Campbell, Professor of Political and Cultural Geography, and faculty member of the Durham Centre for Advanced Photography, Durham University, is a specialist on the visual culture of geopolitics and international relations, political theory and global geopolitics, and US security policy. He will play a key role in the 2012 Durham workshop.

Ann Cvetkovich, Professor, Women and Gender Studies, University of Texas, Austin. A specialist on Victorian literature, mass culture, and everyday trauma, Professor Cvetkovich will contribute research expertise on the relationship between photographic visual culture and “public feeling.”

Deepali Dewan, Curator of South Asia, Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Toronto. A specialist on 19th c Indian photographs, and a member of the Toronto Photography Seminar, Professor Dewan will contribute research on the relationship between photography, painting, and vernacular emotional cultures of the South Asian diaspora. She will also provide curatorial expertise in relationship to our research endeavors.

Laura Levin, Associate Professor, Deptartment of Theatre, York University. A specialist in performance studies and photography, and a member of the Toronto Photography Seminar, Professor Levin will contribute research on the relationship between photography, performance and affect.

Jonathan Long, Professor and Head of German in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, co-director of the Durham Centre for Advanced Photography Studies. Professor Long will contribute his research expertise on 20th century German visual culture, as well as play a key role in organizing the 2012 Durham events.

Thy Phu, Associate Professor, Department of English, Western University. A specialist in Asian North American photography, and a member of the Toronto Photography Seminar, Professor Phu will contribute research relating to photography, affect, and the politics of diaspora. She will contribute her expertise in editing special issues on photography studies, and work with us to identify and secure commitments for our research publications.

Linda Steer, Associate Professor, Deptartment of Visual Arts and Liberal Studies Program, Brock University. A specialist in French surrealism and photography, and a member of the Toronto Photography Seminar, Professor Steer will contribute research as well as organize the monthly meetings of the Toronto Photography Seminar and the annual June retreats.

Tanya Sheehan, Assistant Professor, Deptartment of Art History, Co-organizer of the Rutgers Photography Group (“The Developing Room”). A specialist in 19th century American photography, Professor Sheehan will contribute her research expertise on racial formation, representation, and emotion.

Dot Tuer, Professor, Faculty of Liberal Studies, Ontario College of Art and Design. A specialist in both 17th c Latin American History and in contemporary photography, Professor Tuer will contribute research in curatorial practice, photography, and affect. She is also a member of the Toronto Photography Seminar.

Edward Welch, Senior Lecturer in French, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, co-director of the Durham Centre for Advanced Photography Studies (DCAPS). Professor Welch is a specialist on modern French and colonial photography; he will play a key role in organizing the 2012 Durham workshop.

Carol Zemel, Professor, Department of Visual Arts, York University. A specialist in 19th century European art and 20th century photography, Professor Zemel will contribute research on the relationship between photography, affective communities, and the Jewish diaspora. Professor Zemel is also a member of the Toronto Photography Seminar.

Andres Zervigon, Associate Professor, Department of Art History, Co-organizer of the Rutgers Photography Group (“The Developing Room”). A specialist in 20th century European photography, Professor Zervigon will contribute research expertise on social movements, politics, and photography.