Seminar 2009-10

For 2009–10, the seminar met regularly to discuss readings relating to the theme of photography and affect/emotion/feeling. We put on a major international conference  entitled “Feeling Photography” on October 16-17, 2009 with several plenary speakers, including Ann Cvetkovich, Lisa Cartwright, David Eng, Shawn Michelle Smith, Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer, and Christopher Pinney. A special issue on “Affecting Photographies,” co-edited by Linda Speer and Thy Phu, was published by Photography and Culture in November 2009. We also sponsored three guests: Mark Haworth Booth, Peggy Phalen, and Martin Berger.


Mark Haworth Booth, Curator Victoria and Albert Musuem, London

Mark Haworth-Booth served as a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1970-2004 and helped to build up its great collection of photography. He is now an Honorary Research Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and a Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art. He has curated many exhibitions, including The Art of Lee Miller (V&A/Yale, 2007; Hazan, Paris 2008). The exhibition toured to Philadelphia, San Francisco and Paris and received over half a million visitors. Mark acted as a consultant on the BBC’s award-winning television series The Genius of Photography, aired autumn 2007 and again in spring 2009. He curated, with Jeu de Paume, Paris and the National Portrait Gallery in London, a centenary retrospective of the pioneering photographer Camille Silvy (1834-1910), shown at the National Portrait Gallery from 15 July to 24 October 2010. Mark researched the Silvy exhibition catalogue at the J. Paul Getty Museum as a guest scholar in April-June 2008.

Peggy Phelan, Professor, Department of Drama and English, Stanford University

Professor Phelan is the author of Unmarked: the politics of performance (Routledge 1993); Mourning Sex: performing public memories (Routledge, 1997); the “Survey” essay for Art and Feminism, ed. by Helena Reckitt (Phaidon 2003); the “Survey” essay for Pipilotti Rist (Phaidon 2001); and the catalog essay for Intus: Helena Almeida (Lisbon 2004). She is co-editor, with the late Lynda Hart, of Acting Out: Feminist Performances (University of Michigan Press, 1993); and co-editor with Jill Lane of The Ends of Performance (New York University Press, 1997). She has written more than sixty articles and essays in scholarly, artistic, and commercial magazines ranging from Artforum to Signs. She has edited special issues of the journals Narrative and Women and Performance. She has been a fellow of the Humanities Institute, University of California, Irvine; and a fellow of the Humanities Institute, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. She served on the Editorial Board of Art Journal, one of three quarterly publications of the College Art Association, and as Chair of the board. She has been President of Performance Studies international. She has been a fellow of the Getty Research Institute and a Guggenheim Fellow.

Martin Berger, Professor & Chair, History of Art and Visual Culture, UC Santa Cruz

Professor Berger is Director of the Visual Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of Man Made: Thomas Eakins and the Construction of Gilded Age Manhood and Sight Unseen: Whiteness and American Visual Culture. His work explores the role played by the visual arts in identity formation. Making use of an eclectic assortment of primary evidence, including painting, photography, architecture, film and literature, he analyzes how Americans both resist and embrace dominant norms of identity. While specifically concerned with the impact of identity formation on disempowered peoples, his scholarship consistently addresses the role of art in representing the identities of our society’s most privileged members. In other words, instead of focusing on how images impact our sense of what it means to be “feminine” or “black,” he explores how they condition our understanding of being “masculine” and “white.”


Public talk: September 23, 2009: Mark Haworth Booth, “The Reality Effect: Questions of Photography and Truth,” Art Gallery of Ontario.

Conference: October 16-17, 2009: “Feeling Photography,” University of Toronto.

Public talk: November 12, 2009: Peggy Phelan, “Andy Warhol Again: Repetition, Death and Counting,” Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts, York University.

Public talk: March 25, 2010: Martin Berger, “In Black and White: Civil Rights Photography and the Politics of Race,” Centre for the Study of the United States, Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto.

Toronto Photography Seminar Schedule

October 16-17, 2009

Feeling Photography” conference at the University of Toronto.

Feb. 26, 2010, 4-7pm

Selected essays from Photography: Theoretical Snapshots. Eds. J.J. Long, Andrea Noble, Edward Welch. New York: Routledge, 2009.

March 26, 2010, 4-7pm

Guest: Martin Berger, workshop paper

April 23, 2010, 4-7pm

Selected essays from Photography Degree Zero: Reflections on Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida. Ed. Geoffrey Batchen. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2009.

June 2 and 3, 2010: Final retreat