Photographic History

Founded in 2012, the Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC) specialises in international and interdisciplinary research on photography and its theories and practices from the 19th century to the present day, and is known for its distinctive approach to photography and its social and cultural manifestations. The Centre’s research is distinguished by a commitment to moving beyond disciplinary boundaries to explore the multiple strands of photography’s history; approaching it as an interconnected set of social and cultural processes; and as a visual economy which embraces the photographic industry, networks of photographic knowledge, science and technology, aesthetic, evidential and informational values, and institutional practices. 

The PHRC forms a centre for international scholarship, drawing in scholars with interests in a wide range of interrelated fields, including history of science, geography, anthropology, art history, cultural studies, science and technology studies, museology, material culture studies, digital media and three-dimensional imaging. It also provides an important base for the development of digital technologies for resource preservation, publication, discovery and access. 

We especially welcome PhD enquiries from students with research interests which include the following: photography in cultural/digital heritage, family photography, photography in Jewish cultures, socio-political photographic cultures of Eastern Europe and the Middle East, photography and the emotions, scientific, commercial and technological practices of photography, social, cultural and institutional practices of/in photographic archives, contemporary Chinese visual culture and photographic practices, conflict photography  

The Photographic History Research Centre at De Montfort University invites applications to the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. Key contacts for the Centre and their research interests are listed below 

Dr Kelley Wilder –

The cultures of science and knowledge generated by photography and photographic practice;  photographic practices of nineteenth-century scientists and artists such as William Henry Fox Talbot, Sir John Herschel, Henri Becquerel and others; photographic catalogues and archives; nineteenth- and twentieth-century material cultures of the photographic industry and image making 

Dr Gil Pasternak –

Photographs which circulate widely in the social domain but are not given organised public exposure or archived in institutional collections. Research as a means to record the presence, material form and presentation of such photographs, their meanings to those who take and collect them, and their presumed sociocultural functions. Visual ethnology/anthropology, historical and contemporary photographic practices in the Middle East, contemporary fine art photography, the resuscitation of analogue photography in the new media age, representations of photographic practice in popular culture, and photographic thinking in the vernacular. 

Dr Jenifer Chao –

Photography and photojournalism, contemporary Chinese visual culture and photographic practices, politics and aesthetics, cultural and critical theory 

Dr Beatriz Pichel –

Photographic history / history of photography, medical humanities, history of medicine, cultural history, history of emotions, history of the body, gender and women’s history, history of war, visual science and technology studies 

Click here to apply.

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