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Institute of Advanced Study

Professor Campbell's Public Lecture

Date: 11 March 2009

Time: 5.30pm

Venue: Lecture Room 21, Pemberton Building, Palace Green

Title: Sighting Sudan: Photography from the Colonial Period to the Conflict in Darfur

This lecture will explore the way visuality, in the form of photography as a technology of visualization, is pivotal to the production of contemporary geopolitics. This requires an understanding of photography generally, but the focus will be on the photographic genres understood as documenting and reporting on global events.

Exploring photography's role in the historical production of Sudan - without proposing a visual history of Sudan - will locate the conceptual questions in a specific geopolitical location.  As Africa's largest country, the site of its longest running conflict and a place subject to a range of interventions from the 19th century colonial period under the British to 21st century concern about war crimes in Darfur, Sudan offers a rich case for examining the visual enactment of ‘Africa' in the European imagination.

In this lecture, episodes in photography that intersect with Sudan will be explored, including British colonial photography, George Rodger's and Leni Riefenstahl's work with the Nuba, the photojournalism of famine in the 1990s, and the visual documentation of the conflict in Darfur since 2003. Together these episodes will tell a story about geopolitics, visuality and the possibility of an ethical response to distant people and places.