The Mediated Visibility of Conflicts

I am very pleased to be participating in this conference organised by Anne Gjelsvik and Mette Mortensen:

PhD School at the Faculty of Humanities at University of Copenhagen

Mediated visibility has become central to the way political and social conflicts are represented and carried out. From activism, to war, to terrorist attacks, mediated visibility is key for actors and institutions involved in conflicts to inform the public, propagate their cause, mobilize support, etc. Mediated visibility is often described as a contested field in today’s commercialized and fragmented media landscape of easier access to – and therefore also harder competition for – presence or recognition through media. Actors on opposed sides of a conflict use visual media to create competing narratives and counter-narratives. While the visibility of conflicts was traditionally determined by the interplay between mainstream news media and political elites, the emergence of digital media has enabled more actors to take part in rendering conflict visible. Notably, citizens and activists have over the past years played a decisive role in shaping the mediated visibility of conflicts by producing, disseminating, and mobilizing images via mobile media and social media.  This course aims to explore mediated visibility from interdisciplinary perspectives to shed light on the use of and understanding of visual media in conflict, and how we might best investigate the concepts of visibility, invisibility or overvisibility in the media.

PhD-students with relevant projects and backgrounds in scholarly fields such as media studies, film studies, art history, visual culture, sociology, and political science are invited to take part in this course, which is co-organized by the research groups Face of Terror (NTNU Trondheim) and Images of Conflict, Conflicting Images (University of Copenhagen). We invite PhD-students to propose papers investigating questions such as: What is the role performed by images in conflicts; what does it mean for actors in conflicts to be visible or invisible; which new positions for witnessing and rendering conflict visible are made available by mobile media; and through which methods and theories might we investigate the visualization of conflicts in different media (e.g., news photography, images on social media, documentary films, fiction films).

Keynote speakers:

  • Stuart Allan is Professor and Head of the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University, UK. Much of his research revolves around the visual dimensions of war, conflict and crisis reporting, including both professional and citizen photojournalism. His books include Citizen Witnessing: Revisioning Journalism in Times of Crisis (Polity Press, 2013), and the edited collection, Photojournalism and Citizen Journalism: Co-operation, Collaboration and Connectivity (Routledge, 2017). He is currently co-writing a book on the history of war photography, amongst other projects.
  • Jennifer Good is a writer and Senior lecturer in History and Theory of Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. She is the author of Photography and September 11th: Spectacle, Memory, Trauma (Bloomsbury 2015), co-author of Understanding Photojournalism (Bloomsbury 2017), co-editor of Mythologizing the Vietnam War: Visual Culture and Mediated Memory (CSP 2014) and writes regularly for photography magazines and journals. As well as photography, conflict, psychoanalysis and memory, her research interests also include pedagogies of reading, writing and power.

The course combines lectures, discussions and workshops with presentation of student papers. Students are expected to read course literature in advance.

ECTS: 3,2 for participation with paper presentation.

Maximum number of participants: 12.

Registration and course requirements: Please register in the box on the right and send a title with a 300 words abstract and a short bio to phdschool@hum.ku.dk no later than February 15, 2018.

Further information: If you have any other questions, please contact Professor Anne Gjelsvik  anne.gjelsvik@ntnu.no and Associate Professor Mette Mortensen metmort@hum.ku.dk.

About Stuart Allan's personal blog

Stuart Allan is Professor and Head of the School of Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University, UK.
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