Visual Narratives – Cultural Identities, University of Hamburg, November 27–29, 2014
Increasingly, cultural studies focus on stories and the narration of stories as important catalysts for the constitution, confirmation, and modification of cultural identities. Not only in times of what seems like floods of images but since images are made a large part of these stories and narratives is communicated by visual media. Constantly it can be observed that elaborate iconographic programs are developed to establish specific meanings more or less successfully as essential elements of cultural identities.
To analyse and interpret visual media from such a perspective it is, on the one hand, necessary to develop categories to describe their narrative aspect. The current state of research is heterogeneous: On narratology of film and graphic literature there are rich discussions and developed methods and theories whilst research in the field of single and static images is quite fragmentary. On the other hand methods have to be explored which facilitate cultural interpretations of visual narratives and which may decode the deeper meanings transmitted – also from times and epochs long gone. Finally, it has to be considered how narrative contents participate in the construction of cultural identities.
Basic questions for the conference could be:
- By which means may the narrative aspects of visual media be described?
- Which are the methods to decode the transmitted messages?
- Which strategies are used to construct cultural identities visually?
- Do, in turn, changed or modified identities lead to different patterns of stories and narrations?- What can be gained from a comparison of visual-narrative communication with other forms, for example literary ones?
The conference is organised by students of archaeology, art history, and cultural anthropology. It will contain lectures and workshops on the main topics and provide opportunities for detailed discussion. We are especially looking for trans- and interdisciplinary contributions which deal with the analysis and interpretation of narratives and narrations in visual media from narratological and (visual) culture studies perspectives. There is no limitation to certain times or cultures. The contributions are going to be published after the conference.