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Message posted on 01/12/2017

CFP: Beauty and the Beast: photography, body and sexual discourse in the Middle East and Central Eurasia

Beauty and the Beast: photography, body and sexual discourse in the Middle East and Central Eurasia


Art, Materiality and Representation BRITISH MUSEUM/SOAS 1st-3rd JUNE 2018

The invention of photography as Lalvani brings (1996: 2) is a crucial moment in the development of a modern structure of vision and is both constructive of and constituted by a modern ocular paradigm; its operations are dependent on the larger ocular and cultural formation within which it is deployed, its investment-effect constituted by a particular ensemble of discourses and practices, and specific forms of subject-object relations. Indeed, in legitimizing specific forms of subject-object relations, technologies of vison like photography, embedded within particular discursive knowledge, power and the body (Foucault 1979). Therefore, in order to understand photographys relation with the body, in modern period, we must not only examine the discourses and practices within which photography operated at different levels of the social formation to produce specific bodies, but the ocular epistemology within which these practices are constituted, shaped, and given meaning (Lalvani: ibid).

As Peirce (2009) discussed in her pioneering contribution the academic scholarship regarding histories of sexuality in the region that we term the Middle East was ignored till recently. When it comes to the study of photography of/and sexuality in the Middle East and Central Eurasia (topics such as: erotic photography and pornography, sexual photographs of harems and indoors of aristocrats, photography of prostitutes and brothels, etc.) the number of academic contributions in view point of anthropology of art, visual anthropology, material culture and museum studies come to zero.

Therefore, this panel invites broad range of scholars and artists who are dealing with photography and sexuality in the greater Middle East and Central Eurasia during the modern and contemporary periods. The topics may include (but not limited to):

  • The visual order of sexual photography;
  • Aesthetics of intimacy;
  • Western technology, local beauty and indigenous aesthetic;
  • Vernacular photography as a challenge to Orientalism;
  • Colonial photography and indigenous creativity;
  • Influence of European migrants and refugees on vernacular pornography;
  • From brothel to studio, from studio to brothel;
  • Photography as an object of desire;
  • Traditional vision and modern bodies;
  • Censorship, sexuality and creativity;
  • Islam, the body and nude photography;
  • Museums and censorship;
  • The position of museums and galleries in collaboration with artists;
  • Western photographs and local albums.

Please be in touch with Dr. P. Khosronejad (pedram.khosronejad@okstate.edu) to discuss your proposal in advance before official opening of call for papers.


  • Call for papers opens on 29 August 2017 and closes on 8 January 2018

  • Registration opens on 22 February 2018

Conference Fee: Non-Fellow: 190 RAI Member: 170 RAI Fellow: 95 Concessions: 80 RAI Student Fellow: 60


Dr. Pedram Khosronejad Farzaneh Family Scholar Associate Director for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies

School of Global Studies & Partnerships/School of Media & Strategic Communications

Oklahoma State University 201 Wes Watkins Center Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078 Phone: 405-744-6179 E-mail: Pedram.khosronejad@okstate.edu ieo.okstate.edu/staff.aspx?ref=6

| Chief Editor, Anthropology of the Contemporary Middle East and Central Eurasia, SeanKingston.

| Series Editor, The Anthropology of Persianate Societies, SeanKingston.

| Series Editor, Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies, LIT Verlag.

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