Call for papers
Photography and Visual Orders in the History of the Russian Empire and
the Soviet Union
Photographs are two-dimensional simplifications of a four-dimensional
reality; they often possess a greater power of suggestion than the
natural visual sensation. This, along with their technical
reproducibility, explains the rise of photography to one of the most
important everyday representations of people, places, and events since
the late 19th century. It seems logical to search for the symbolic
orders in and behind this new world of images (whether familial,
political, or economic), as well as for their origins and medial
transmission, and their producers and recipients. The workshop is
organized in cooperation with the German Historical Institute Moscow
and the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) “Threatened Orders” of
Tübingen University and devotes itself to these topics using the
example of Russian / Soviet History between 1840 and 1990. The purpose
of this, first of all, is to lay down thematic guidelines for further
research and to coordinate running projects.
The following four thematic fields will serve as starting point:
1) Method and Theory
What contribution can photo-historical approaches and questions make
to the study of both Russian and Soviet History, and to the study of
(threatened) orders (also in a transnational context)? Orders are
considered to be threatened according to the CRC-terminology, when
options for action become insecure, patterns of behaviour and routines
are called into question, and when a threat communication is
2) Images of the Other
Photographs are considered to have a causal connection to reality.
Therefore, they play a key role in visualising foreigners and foes.
What strategies of inclusion, exclusion, defamation, or
romanticization can be observed?
3) Ideas of Order
Photojournalism, which was considered the most important genre of
Soviet Photography since the end of the 1920s, visualised the ideals
of the New Soviet person and his / her society. In this context, we
are not only interested in how achievements in industrialization,
space travel, or sports were represented by means of photography, but
also if and in what context threats were visualized.
What did the social and organizational infrastructure behind the
worlds of images visualizing order and threat look like? Through which
agents and media did their dissemination occur? How did amateurs apply
or alter the official picture language? What motifs and presentation
techniques were formative?
Interested scholars from all disciplines, who work on the History of
Photography in Russia or the Soviet Union, please send a proposal for
a talk (25 minutes, length: maximum 400 words) and a short CV until 28
February 2013 to Isabelle de Keghel (keghelgmx.de).
Applications may be submitted in German, Russian or English.
Conference Languages will be Russian and English (with simultaneous
Proposals from the entire field of the History of Photography in
Russia and the Soviet Union between 1840 and 1990 are welcome.
Particular attention will be paid to the thematic fields mentioned
The number of speakers is limited to fifteen. Applicants will be
notified of the chosen proposals by 30 March 2013.
The conference is funded by the GHI Moscow and the CRC 923 “Threatened
Orders” of Tübingen University. The expenses on travel and
accommodation will be covered by the organizers. A publication of
selected articles is planned.
We are looking forward to your proposals!
Dr Isabelle de Keghel, University of Konstanz (keghelgmx.de)
Dr Katharina Kucher, University of Tübingen
PD Dr Andreas Renner, Universities of Heidelberg/Tübingen
Katja Bruisch, GHI Moscow (katja.bruischdhi-moskau.org)
CFP: Photography in the Russian Empire & Soviet Union (Moscow, 2-4 Oct 13). In: ArtHist.net, Dec 13, 2012 (accessed Dec 10, 2023), <https://arthist.net/archive/4372>.