Dialogical Approaches to Visual Methods: Afghanistan through the Lens of Local Photographers
Fiona Katherine Smith, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät, Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften,
What is photography and how can it be used as a tool for self-representation and documenting history? How do local photographers seek representation and authority in discourses on conflict and social change in Afghanistan? How can visual media be researched dialogically and collaboratively? Following on from the previous semester, the X-Student Research Group begins with a refresher phrase in which new students are introduced to debates surrounding photography and decolonial visual research methods, and are brought up-to-speed on the current status of the projects by the returning students. Over the semester, the students conduct their own research on a self-selected photograph or series, working together with local photographers from the network of Herat-based Angoor Visuals, while being introduced to new methodologies in class. The semester concludes with a multimedia presentation of the visual research outputs which will also be published on Angoor Visuals website. Anthropological experience is desired but not essential as this methodology is discussed in the group and students with existing skills can share them with the others through peer-learning. The X-StuRG is especially suited to students of Area Studies, Ethnology/Anthropology, (Art) History, Social Sciences, Political Sciences, and Media Studies.