CFP Feb 28, 2002

The Image and the Witness

Frances Guerin


Submissions are invited for an edited book with the working title THE
IMAGE AND THE WITNESS, which will explore the twin concerns of the
image as witness and images of witnesses to traumatic historical
events. In recent years photographic, film, video and televisual
images have played an increasingly important role in the formation
and documentation of historical events. Similarly, archival images of
past traumatic events have become ever more accessible. At the same
time however, the computer generation and manipulation of media
images problematize the notion of the "original" image that witnesses
historical events. Parallel to developments in image production and
dissemination, scholarly interest in the aesthetics and politics of
imaging trauma has understandably burgeoned. At the center of this
literature has been concern for both the psychological and political
significance of witnessing historical trauma. In the ever-expanding
field of image studies, there has also been a continued interrogation
of the ethics and aesthetics of images which document the traumatic
historical event. This collection will examine the urgent concerns
raised by analogue and digital images of traumatic historical events,
concerns that lie at the intersection of image studies and trauma
studies. Such events could include: the Holocaust;
Hiroshima/Nagasaki; wars, such as the Gulf War, the Balkan wars or
World War II; the Intifada; September 11; the AIDS epidemic; the rise
and fall of political dictatorships, such as those of Milosevic,
Pinochet and Ceausescu; colonization; mediated catastrophes or
crises; and human rights abuses.

We envision contributions that explore the image and the witness from
within a variety of conceptual sites The collection will be organized
according to these sites. Possible sites include: the
aestheticization of the event/witness; the politics of framing and/or
narrativizing the witness/event; challenges to notions of realism
mobilized through witnessing; the indexicality of the image; the
image as a form of documentary evidence for the writing of history;
the presence, absence and appearance of the event and/or image;
authorship and ownership of the image; the status of the body in the
act of witnessing; the assertion of identity through witnessing; the
politics of the image archive in narratives of witnessing; the
appropriation of images for uses other than those for which they were
designed; the relationship between the image and linguistic or
textual testimony; the ethics of image production, reproduction and
dissemination; the ethical responsibility for remembering.

Through the intersection of images of traumatic historical events and
a variety of conceptual sites, the collection will both contribute to
ongoing debates about the politics and aesthetics of witnessing, and
better assess the role of the still and moving image within
contemporary history and culture more generally.

The book will be edited by Frances Guerin (University of Kent,
Canterbury, UK) and Roger Hallas (New York University, USA).

Send a 500 word proposal and brief resume by October 1, 2002 to:

Frances Guerin
School of Drama, Film and Visual Arts
Rutherford College, University of Kent
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NX
United Kingdom

Fax: +44 1227 82 7846

CFP: The Image and the Witness. In:, Feb 28, 2002 (accessed Jun 24, 2024), <>.