Next issue: Latin America and the Event of Photography—RIAS Vol. 16, Fall–Winter (2/2022)
Edited by: Justin Michael Battin & German A. Duarte (guest editor)
Across Latin America and the Caribbean, photographs have been used as referential points to formulate a country’s national identity, as intimate and commemorative artifacts for Day of the Dead celebrations, as anthropological documentations of indigenous peoples, mixed races, and criminals, categories which have been used as mechanisms for exclusion. The practice of photography, more broadly, has also been used as a means to document violence, which is typically presented ethnographically through both realist and sensationalist lenses. Discourses of photography have, since the medium’s emergence, typically embarked with a Cartesian character, in which links between thinking and seeing, and visual perception and certainty, are forged. This perspective has imbued in photography a certain objectivity, wherein an author utilizes a technical instrument to produce a representation of a thing. Through this Cartesian understanding, the author is rendered not as a subjective framer, an entity who deliberately constructs the world, but rather as a detached observer who creates a notation of reality afforded by his or her technical device. Although this notion has persistently endured, it has been challenged, perhaps most prominently by Susan Sontag who argued that a photographer intrinsically possesses a certain bias, which presences in framing strategies and chosen subject matter. These interpretations of the medium, still pervasive today, have significantly influenced how Latin America and the Caribbean are perceived across social imaginaries. (Read the full CFP here)
Next issue: Sacred Spaces in the Americas—RIAS Vol. 17, Spring–Summer (1/2023)
Edited by Lucie Kýrová and Nathaniel R. Racine
“Human societies come and go on this earth and any prolonged occupation of a geographical region will produce shrines and sacred sites discerned by the occupying people, but there will always be a few sites at which the highest spirits dwell.”
Vine Deloria, Jr., God Is Red: A Native View of Religion, 279.
The connections between the spiritual and natural world and the temporality and permanence of sacred places, as articulated by Vine Deloria, Jr., have found constant expression throughout the colonial history of the Americas. As European settlement advanced, many sites sacred to the Indigenous peoples were abandoned, destroyed, forcibly transformed, or left in obscurity for their own protection, only to gain new meanings within the conquering or enslaved cultures taking root. (Read the full CFP here).