A Fellow of the IAS in early 2012 during the IAS thematic year of Futures II, and a current member of the Institute’s Advisory Council, emerita Professor Elizabeth Edwards’ book Photographs and the Practice of History: a short primer has recently been published with Bloomsbury.
What is it to practice history in an age in which photographs exist? What is the impact of photographs on the core historiographical practices which define the discipline and shape its enquiry and methods? In Photographs and the Practice of History, Professor Edwards proposes a new approach to historical thinking which explores these questions and redefines the practices at the heart of this discipline.
Structured around key concepts in historical methodology which are recognisable to all undergraduates, the book shows that from the mid-19th century onward, photographs have influenced historical enquiry. Exposure to these mass-distributed cultural artefacts is enough to change our historical frameworks even when research is textually-based.
Conceptualised as a series of ‘sensibilities’ rather than a methodology as such, it is intended as a companion to ‘how to’ approaches to visual research and visual sources. Photographs and the Practice of History not only builds on existing literature by leading scholars: it also offers a highly original approach to historiographical thinking that gives readers a foundation on which to build their own historical practices.