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Full-Text Articles in Theory and Criticism

The Face Of Our Wartime, Sharon Sliwinski Dec 2014

The Face Of Our Wartime, Sharon Sliwinski

Sharon Sliwinski

This paper considers a turn toward portraiture amongst contemporary photojournalists who have covered the War on Terror. A series of wartime faces is examined in order to consider the way prolonged conflict flattens our visual landscape.


New York Transfixed: Notes On The Expression Of Fear, Sharon Sliwinski Dec 2012

New York Transfixed: Notes On The Expression Of Fear, Sharon Sliwinski

Sharon Sliwinski

What does fear look like? What can photography reveal of the unconscious dimensions of terror? Working with the largest photographic archive devoted to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City, this chapter studies the visual inscription of terror in the bodily gestures of eyewitness, gestures that were captured by citizen photographers.


A Painful Labor: Photography And Responsibility, Sharon Sliwinski Dec 2011

A Painful Labor: Photography And Responsibility, Sharon Sliwinski

Sharon Sliwinski

This paper considers the tension between photography and responsibility despite the avalanche of objections regarding documentary’s false promise to awaken social conscience. By examining the encounter with images of suffering through a psychoanalytic register, the paper tries to articulate what Barthes describes as the ‘painful labour’ of responding to the photographic other – an encounter that illuminates the limit of the spectator’s ability to respond. Photographs provide an occasion to register this limit, which, I argue, opens up the spectator’s traditional notions of responsibility from a set of moral duties towards a questioning of the ethical relation.


Human Rights In Camera, Sharon Sliwinski Dec 2010

Human Rights In Camera, Sharon Sliwinski

Sharon Sliwinski

From the fundamental rights proclaimed in the American and French declarations of independence to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Hannah Arendt’s furious critiques, the definition of what it means to be human has been hotly debated. But the history of human rights—and their abuses—is also a richly illustrated one. Following this picture trail, Human Rights In Camera takes an innovative approach by examining the visual images that have accompanied human rights struggles and the passionate responses people have had to them.


Icarus Returned: The Falling Man And The Survival Of Antiquity, Sharon Sliwinski Dec 2010

Icarus Returned: The Falling Man And The Survival Of Antiquity, Sharon Sliwinski

Sharon Sliwinski

This chapter examines the so-called "Falling Man" photograph: Richard Drew's infamous image of an anonymous man in free fall, following his jump from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Using Aby Warburg's iconographical method, I read this figure as a latter-day Icarus, putting Drew's photograph in dialogue with other representations of Icarus as a way to explore the image's unconscious force.


The Gaze Called Animal: Notes For A Study On Thinking, Sharon Sliwinski Dec 2010

The Gaze Called Animal: Notes For A Study On Thinking, Sharon Sliwinski

Sharon Sliwinski

Over the course of several days in 1997, Jacques Derrida delivered a long lecture to attendees of a conference in Cerisy called “The Autobiographical Animal.” As part of his opening remarks, the philosopher recounted a curious little scene that served to introduce the central theme of the larger address that followed. The scene begins when Derrida reports that each morning, with an almost ritualistic regularity, he is followed from his bedroom into the bathroom by his cat, an unnamed feline, he insists, that is a real little cat, not the mere figure of a cat: “It doesn’t silently enter ...


The Aesthetics Of Human Rights, Sharon Sliwinski Dec 2008

The Aesthetics Of Human Rights, Sharon Sliwinski

Sharon Sliwinski

This essay situates the 1755 Lisbon earthquake as an alternate origin point for human rights discourse. As one of the most destructive earthquakes in recorded history, the event had a broad effect on both scientific and philosophical thought. The quake also represents one of the first modern mass media events in which subjects throughout Europe became spectators to a distant catastrophe. Both visual and verbal representations of the event circulated throughout Europe with incredible efficiency and helped inaugurate a secular notion of human suffering as well as thoughts about its prevention. The story of the quake shows that the notion ...


On Photographic Violence, Sharon Sliwinski Dec 2008

On Photographic Violence, Sharon Sliwinski

Sharon Sliwinski

This paper explores the significance of photographic violence in relation to a single defaced image found during the Bosnian War. The single example of pictorial violence opens a set of questions interrogating the nature of human aggression: What is the status of violence carried out in effigy? Can this particular example of defacement open understanding into the other forms of violence that took place during the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia? How does the image come to be marked by affect but also serve as the medium of its transmission? And finally, why does photography lend itself so easily to ...


A Note On Punctum, Sharon Sliwinski Dec 2005

A Note On Punctum, Sharon Sliwinski

Sharon Sliwinski

A note on Roland Barthes' punctum.


A Painful Labor: Photography And Responsibility Dec 2003

A Painful Labor: Photography And Responsibility

Sharon Sliwinski

Despite the avalanche of objections regarding documentary's false promise to awaken social conscience, this paper considers the tension between photography and responsibility. By examining the encounter with images of suffering through a psychoanalytic register, the paper tries to articulate what Barthes describes as the ‘painful labour’ of responding to the photographic other – an encounter that illuminates the limit of the spectator's ability to respond. Photographs provide an occasion to register this limit, which, I argue, opens up the spectator's traditional notions of responsibility from a set of moral duties towards a questioning of the ethical relation.