Appel à contribution : “Critical Histories of Photography in the Middle East”, Special Issue of the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication — LIMITE : 30/11/2013

A rich vernacular photographic culture has thrived in the Middle East for well over a century. The history of this culture, however, remains largely unknown. The ways in which “photography” and “Middle East” have most commonly been brought together in scholarly writing has largely eschewed local photographic practices in favor of only one type of photographic production, created for western audiences and located in western collections. Very little is known about the many local deployments, markets, and usages in which photographs have flourished and continue to thrive. A new generation of scholars has recently begun to shift the focus of enquiry towards local photographic practices. Mining previously unused sources spanning family and provincial archives to local studios and flea markets, a very different photographic history is emerging at their hands. This special issue of the *Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication*aims to map this emerging field.

We seek contributions exploring the varieties of local photographic traditions and practices including the production, circulation and consumption of photographs across the region in multiple social contexts. We welcome contributions from a wide range of academic disciplines (social and cultural history, anthropology, sociology, visual, cultural, and media studies) that place local photographic practices at their centre. We welcome both historical and contemporary perspectives, ranging from the origins of local photography in the 19th century to the most recent developments in digital media, including photographs circulated on Facebook or on mobile phones. We seek contributions that are theoretically sophisticated, especially when it comes to understanding the performativity, materiality and vernacularity (i.e. embeddedness in social contexts) of photographs. However, we require a strong engagement with original material and original research.

** * We are particularly interested in contributions that explore, but are not necessarily limited to, the following aspects of vernacular photography:

* * *Studio practices, pictorial conventions, cultural flows. Local meanings, global influences. Markets. Visual languages and visual economies.

* * *Genres and their usages. Studio portraiture, photographic albums, family snapshots, travel photography, weddings, portraits of patriarchs on walls and of children in wallets.

* * *Circulation: hanging, framing, showing, displaying, exchanging, giving, hiding, destroying, forgetting, losing.

* * *Photographs and gender; photographic objects as mediators of social relations.

* * *Photographs as instruments of power and authority. Photographs as mediators of cohesion, subversion, resistance, conflict, memory, social identity, status, taste, subjectivity, belonging, intimacy.

* * *The afterlives of photographs. Photographs lost and found, sold and bought: critical reflections on preserving, archiving, curating or collecting. Collage, manipulation, photoshopping. Re-using, re-deploying.

* * *Photographs’ relationships to other media (painting, writing, print, digital environments, mobile phones) and to other sensory regimes (touch, smell, sound).

* * *Photographs’ relationship to space and time.

Please submit a 500 words abstract by 30 November 2013 to guest editor lucie.ryzova@history.ox.ac.uk. Selected authors will be notified by 15 December and invited to submit their papers by 30 March 2014. The volume is scheduled for publication in early 2015.

We also welcome photographic and multi-media essays related to any of our topics, whose inclusion into the print-edition of the *MEJCC* might not be feasible, but which could be accommodated in an accompanying feature on the *Jadaliyya* Photography Page. MEJCC is a double-blind peer reviewed journal published by Brill three times a year ( http://www.brill.com/middle-east-journal-culture-and-communication).


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