Kategorie: Envisioning Work: The Visual Cultures of Labor

“Envisioning Work: The Visual Cultures of Labor” considers how a critical examination of labor-related visual and material culture depicting workers, work-place practices, and/or associated scientific and technological processes, allows for alternative approaches to examining issues of gender, race, and class vis-a-vis labor history. This blog series endeavors to explore the varied roles and significance that these examples of visual and material culture play in envisioning, documenting, indexing, surveilling, communicating, critiquing, and/or representing workers, work, and workplaces. Through a critical, structural analysis of visual culture associated with labor, this series aims to explore and contribute an important visual dimension to studies on the social and economic aspects of the capitalist economy and the history of working classes. The series brings together scholars (of any discipline) working, in some way, with the material/visual culture of labor/work during any period from the late 1700s to the present and in any geographic region, with a special interest in underrepresented regions and/or social groups.

A longer introduction and CFP can be found here. If you are interested in contributing to this series, contact Hala Auji and Nurçin İleri.

Picturing the Labor Landscape: The Silahtarağa Power Plant and Istanbul’s Electrical Infrastructure

By Nurçin İleri. This essay centres on a series of photographs, which I first came across at an auction in November 2020. These black and white images depict Istanbul’s first urban scale power plant, the Silahtarağa campus and extension of the grid to the city in the early 1910s.

Ever-Present Tobacco Dust: Women’s Labor Conditions at the Cibali Tobacco Factory

By Zehra Betül Atasoy. In early Republican Turkey, women workers – predominantly in tobacco, weaving, and the food industry – were gathered mainly in the city of Istanbul. Although the number of female workers in industrial production gradually increased, gender-based wage differences continued, with women earning less, and these workers were subjected to long hours and inadequate health and safety conditions.

Envisioning Work: The Visual Cultures of Labor – Call for Contributions

By Hala Auji and Nurçin İleri. Capitalism’s far-reaching social, industrial, and cultural implications on the socio-political aspects of production, labor, and class struggle are well-documented. Scholarship on labor has emphasized the social and economic aspects of the capitalist economy and the history of working classes in a global context.

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