Call for Papers: Feeling Photography

October 16-17th 2009
University of Toronto
Toronto Ontario Canada

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.

Confirmed plenary speakers include: Geoffrey Batchen, Lisa Cartwright, Ann Cvetkovich, David Eng, Marianne Hirsch, Shawn Michelle Smith, and Diana Taylor.

Instructions for submission of paper abstracts: please send a 250-word proposal and one page c.v. to no later than January 15, 2009. Notifications will take place by February 23, 2009.

Completed conference papers should be about 8-10 pages, or 20 minutes. We also envision collecting completed papers based on conference presentations into an anthology for publication with a university press. A subvention to cover part of the costs of registration will be available to graduate students.

This conference is co-sponsored by the Toronto Photography Seminar and the Centre for the Study of the United States, Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto.
Conference organizers are Prof. Matt Brower, University of Toronto; Prof. Elspeth Brown, University of Toronto; and Prof. Thy Phu, University of Western Ontario; with the assistance of David Sworn, graduate student in History at the University of Toronto.
For the Toronto Photography Seminar, see; for the Centre for the Study of the United States at the University of Toronto, see


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