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.

Unearthing the Substrata of Images – Interview with Sanaz Sohrabi

In this piece, Nurçin Ileri interviewed Sanaz Sohrabi, a doctoral candidate at the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture, Montréal. Her doctoral project looks at how visual representations of oil have changed postcolonial sovereignty and resource nationalism in Iran over time. She is also an artist and filmmaker. In relation to her project, she prepares a trilogy of essay films

Envisioning a Homoeroticized Cityscape Through Work

By Ezgi Sarıtaş. In this essay, the author explores how the illustrations in the Istanbul Ansiklopedisi (encyclopedia) bring together scattered pieces of a visual archive of the urban poor and their marginal labour, while concurrently adopting a voyeuristic interpretation of physical labour and young male bodies as objects of homoerotic desire.

Messy Surroundings: Calligrapher at Work

by Nancy Micklewright. In 1967 a Los Angeles photographer, Harold Van Pelt, took a series of photographs of Mohamed Zakariya in his garage workshop. Today, Zakariya is the foremost calligrapher of the Arabic language in the US and is renowned worldwide, but when these photographs were taken, he had just begun his journey in Islam and had been learning calligraphy for a short time.

Envisioning Domestic Labor on Instagram: Changing Parameters of Visibility under Neoliberal Digital Capitalism

by Nazlı Özkan. #invisiblehousework (#görünmeyenevişleri) first started as an Instagram hashtag and continued with an account of its own under the same name. The hashtag was created by Elif Doğan, or blogcuanne (mom blogger) with her Instagram and blogger handle. She has currently has around 111K followers and lives in Bodrum, a famous touristic town in Southwest Turkey.

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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