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Photography and the Languages of Reconstruction after the Second World War, 1944-49

Friday 12 April 2019, at 9:00 AM - 6:30 PM
Council Chamber Cardiff University CF10 3AT

Research on post-war reconstruction has focused on either the rebuilding of urban centres in Europe or the construction of a new world order (as represented both by the European project and internationalist agencies such as the WHO). A global perspective, seeking to integrate the histories of Europe and the United States with those of say India, Japan, Algeria or Australia, has yet to be undertaken. This symposium offers the first concerted consideration of the transnational spaces of encounter for the establishment of post-war Europe and the disestablishment of Empire and, crucially, their refraction via photographic images.

Looking at post-conflict situations across a range of nations, we consider the contact zones where soldiers and civilians encountered one another as simultaneously physical spaces, language spaces and media spaces. The event addresses the following questions: How were photographs used to translate certain stories across languages or promote certain images about the war and the post-war moment? What questions of interference, mediation and cultural translation do the spaces of exhibition halls or the printed page throw up for the study of post-war reconstruction and its many languages? What are the tools of analysis that we can mobilize for interpreting visual materials and their multilingual contexts?

This timely project is a collaboration between scholars across the UK Europe, and Australia. Thorough understanding of the historic interaction of languages, cultures and images during this decisive turning point for the twentieth century promises greater awareness of both the opportunities afforded and the threats posed by globalizing visual cultures into the twenty-first.

The event is hosted in partnership by the Tom Hopkinson Centre for Media History (JOMEC) and the Picturing Others Research Unit (MLANG) at Cardiff University.

It is supported by grants from the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) and The Learned Society of Wales (LSW). The IMLR enables researchers to collaborate in a wide range of national and international networks and activities, to engage in innovative research and to demonstrate research value to the wider public. The LSW is Wales’ national academy, championing excellence across all academic fields, promoting research, inspiring learning, and providing independent policy advice.

Cardiff University
Council Chamber
Cardiff University CF10 3AT