Call for Papers: Visualizing History: Heritage as Image, Image as Heritage, AAA 2018

Call for Papers: AAA meetings in San José, CA, November 14-18, 2018

Organizers: Hilary M. Leathem (UChicago) and Page McClean (CU-Boulder)

Visualizing History: Heritage as Image, Image as Heritage

How do histories become sedimented and materialized?  How can heritage be made "tangible" and visible? This panel seeks to explore the overlaps between the material and the visual, and between historical production and sensory engagement.  Drawing, in part, on the work of Michel-Rolph Trouillot, this session examines the materiality of history and its objects through the lens of heritage. In Silencing the Past (1995), Trouillot asserts the irrevocably material nature of history, pointing to the ways in which these concrete historical traces that mark our landscapes — whether they are buildings, monuments, ruins, dead bodies, books, or boundaries — shape, refigure, and limit the power of historical narratives. Also bound within Trouillot’s contention are questions of the resilience of history’s ambiguities and what it means to resist hegemonic narratives. We seek to expand this conversation into the realm of visual anthropology and its methodologies.  Trouillot notes that history is produced — and silenced — at various stages: the making of sources, the creation of archives, through narration, and as history in the final instance: what becomes accepted as "the canon." At what points might the visual intervene to resist these silences, or add to their power?

We welcome creative interpretations of the overlaps between heritage, the material, and the visual at any stage of the history-making process.  Papers might engage with circulating images and visual notions about what heritage/a culture/a region/a landmark should look like; visual heritage itself; the visual representation of heritage sites, practices, and objects; sensory engagements with heritage; or other ethnographically rich examples.

Please send a title and abstract (250 words max.) to Page McClean ( or Hilary Leathem ( byFriday, April 13th.