Current Fellows, Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan
someone i'd like to talk to...
"My core intellectual interest is in imagination and mediation – how ideas emerge, circulate and generate other ideas, narratives and forms. Representations – both textual and visual – are central to my work as products that are formed by and reflect particular cultural and historical environments and yet, as fixed entities, can travel and have influence far from their points of origin. In one form or another, all my projects explore cultures of knowledge production: how the circulation of representations, as well as the organization of information and technology shapes the imagination and how, in turn, innovations in narrative form, including communication technologies, come about.
Trained in literature, anthropology and film studies, the question that guided my dissertation fieldwork was highly interdisciplinary by necessity: What ways of seeing are global news audiences offered and how do the structures that shape these ways of seeing, also shape ways of imagining the world and political practices possible within it?
Specifically, international news photographs play a critical role in how the world is imagined today – they mediate and manage diverse imaginations. Against the backdrop of Gulf War II, commonly referred to as “the most photographed war in history,” my fieldwork centered on key nodal points of production, distribution, and circulation of the international photojournalism industry in its centers of power in New York and Paris. My informants were various “brokers of images,” such as photo editors and agencies, who act as mediators for views of the world, and in so doing also become mediators of our imagination. Currently I am completing the resulting manuscript, Images and their Brokers: The Work of International News Photographs in the Age of Digital Reproduction, an ethnography of a very loose community of people collectively engaged in visual knowledge production at a time when the core technologies of their craft, their status amidst a growing pool of amateurs, and the very relationship between representations and acts of violence was changing rapidly.
My next projects involve: the novelty introduced to visuality with photographic representations of the human body, the use of photography as a tool of governmentality, the expansive photo albums of Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamit II, the confluence of changes in transportation, communication, distribution of capital, industrialization, and perceptions of time and space that coincide with several innovations in the history of media, and Turkish coffee grinds.
Research interests: Visual anthropology, media anthropology, ethnographic and documentary film, cultures of knowledge production, photography, anthropology of news and journalism, anthropology of the imagination, moving image studies, theories of representation, narrative forms. France, Turkey, USA."