Travelling Images: Circulating Photographs, Objects, Knowledge

12.10.2017 to 14.10.2017 Add to calendar

Leisure travel can be traced back to the “Grand Tour” starting from the 17th  century, however more widespread tourism flourished shortly after the Industrial Revolution at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. Steamships did not only transport people and goods across the sea; images both as objects and as visual ideas were sent back and forth. From images showing architectural and historical sites to the exoticised and staged photographs of certain “types” of peoples, this array of visuals helped shape an overall image of foreign cultures and territories that would otherwise have not been comprehensible to the so-called “armchair traveller.” Visual representations of foreign regions acted as souvenirs and were also vital when identifying one’s home or nationality. Photographs of colonised territories had a profound effect on how occupied places were perceived and understood; they served as a connecting tie between the foreign and the familiar.  

In recent years, scholars such as Elizabeth Edwards and Costanza Caraffa focused on the historical significance of photographs as objects. The tactility and haptic qualities of a photo object are most important, especially when considering how these objects travelled from one person or one region to another. Rather than only focusing on the materiality of these pictorial objects, we want to highlight the travel of both material and immaterial images geographically and across media. Circulating as single photographs, in albums, on postcards or printed in magazines and travel guide books, images function as mediators and agents of ideas and knowledge of a foreign place. However, in current research on transnational and trans-colonial movements of people, and concepts, images are most often neglected. Therefore we want to discuss the complex meaning of these travelling images.

The workshop serves as an open platform for doctoral and postdoctoral candidates to exchange thoughts on how to approach the topic of travelling images. We want to initiate ties between and across universities and disciplines to help encourage our understanding of complex transnational travel routes of images. The goal is to thoroughly investigate the changing interpretations and meanings of images, both through a media specific and art historical lens, and in a wider cultural, historical and social realm.

The evening lecture is free and open to the public. In order to participate in the workshop, please register via e-mail until October 1, 2017 by contacting Stella Jungmann, Center for Studies in the Theory and History of Photography at the Institute of Art History:


Thursday, October 12
6:15 p.m. “Photography’s History in Meiji Japan: New Approaches and Challenges”
Public Evening Lecture by Dr. Luke Gartlan, University of St Andrews

Friday, October 13
9:30 a.m. Welcome Address by Prof. Dr. Bettina Gockel, University of Zurich Introduction by Sophie Junge and Stella Jungmann, University of Zurich
10:00 a.m. “Photography and China’s Early Emancipation Movement” Xenia Piëch, University of Zurich
10:45 a.m. “From Traveling Images to Traveling Bodies: Korean War Orphans in Hollywood and the Rhetoric of Interracial Adoption” Jung Joon Lee, Rhodes Island School of Design
11:30 a.m. Coffee Break
12:00 p.m. “Developing Photographs and Networks: Images of the Japanese Embassy in the United States, 1860” Stella Jungmann, University of Zurich
12:45 p.m. Lunch Break
2:15 p.m. “Picturing the Sacred: Yasu Kohei and his Photographic Reproductions of Religious Images in Guatemala” Ping-Heng Chen, University of Heidelberg
3:00 p.m. “From Snapshot to Cultural Propaganda: The Formation of Persian Architectural Photographs, 1925–1935” Yuka Kadoi, University of Edinburgh
3:45 p.m. Coffee Break
4:15 p.m. “Old Surabaya – New Surabaya: Photography and the Making of the Colonial City” Sophie Junge, University of Zurich

Saturday, October 14
9:30 a.m. “Ethnography to Art: ‘Japanische Ringer, Nach der Natur’” Christina Thurman-Wild, University of Zurich
10:15 a.m. “Circulation, Appropriation, Redefinition – The History of Songea Mbano’s Portrait” Eliane Kurmann, University of Zurich
11:00 a.m. Coffee Break
11:30 a.m. Panel Discussion with all Participants

Organised by: 
Sophie Junge, Stella Jungmann, Xenia Piëch, Eliane Kurmann, University of Zurich
University of Zurich - RAA-G-15
Rämistrasse 59
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