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Working group

Visual and Material History Working Group

The Visual and Material History Working Group offers a platform to discuss how historical research relates to the issues of visuality and materiality. How do historians engage with visual and material sources? What specific challenges does it bring forth? What are the different methodologies and theoretical approaches available to historians using images and objects as sources?

Our group aims to discuss a wide range of visual sources, including paintings, drawings, objects, popular artefacts, photography, cartography, architecture. The topics approached in the working group are not chronologically-bounded and they may include (but are not confined to) cultural propaganda, arts and politics, the exploration of taste, visual styles, cross-cultural exchanges of images and objects, material culture, construction of landscapes.

The working group wishes to encourage the discussion among researchers through a variety of session formats. Some sessions will offer to the researchers the opportunity to present and receive feedback on their questions, challenges and preliminary findings. In other sessions, key academic works, selected according to an interdisciplinary criterion, will be discussed. Other meetings may focus on specific thematic questions (e.g. types of sources, interpretation, historical context). The question of how to communicate our own research visually (e.g. printed format or exhibitions) will be also raised, and this may lead to meetings with Florence-based curators. Finally, the organisers will also invite external speakers willing to share their experience with all of us.

A link to the Working Group's blog is above, under "Visit project website"

Faculty Liaison: Giorgio Riello (EUI) 

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