This essay defines the category of “visual history” and introduces its operations across the essays included in this special issue. It proposes that such narratives accelerated time in cultures where it became increasingly common to traverse spatial distances. In this way, visual histories are not simply guides to the times, but guides to time itself.
Visual History: The Past in Pictures
Daniela Bleichmar is Professor in the departments of art history and history at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment (2012) and Visual Voyages: Images of Latin American Nature from Columbus to Darwin (2017). Her current research addresses indigenous objects and knowledge in colonial Mexico and early modern Europe.
Vanessa R. Schwartz directs the Visual Studies Research Institute at the University of Southern California, where she teaches the history of modern visual culture, especially photography and film, and the history and theories of popular and mass culture in the departments of art history and history. She recently completed a book, Jet Age Aesthetics: The Glamour of Media in Motion, which will be published by Yale University Press in 2020.
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Daniela Bleichmar, Vanessa R. Schwartz; Visual History: The Past in Pictures. Representations 1 February 2019; 145 (1): 1–31. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2019.145.1.1
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