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Modernism’s Blindspot: Exiled Women Photographers in Latin America, 1930s-1960s

Alejandra Uslenghi, Northwestern University

March 22, 2022 · 4:30 pm6:30 pm · 216 Aaron Burr Hall

Program in Latin American Studies

The talk explores the impact on the development of modernist photography and culture of female émigré photographers who found refuge from persecution and forged new lives in Latin America during and after WWII. Recovering a corpus that has been understudied as a whole — the Latin American corpus in the work of Gisèle Freund, Kati Horna, Jeanne Mandello, Hildegard Rosenthal, among others— we interrogate the consequences of this silence in modernist photography historiography as we rethink and re draw a map of diasporic modernist trajectories. If until recently Latin American scholarship has privileged the analysis of avant-gardist’s travels to Europe to assess the terms of cultural exchanges that came to define a Latin American modern image, we propose to revise this period of forced migrations towards Latin American countries by these women photographers as a new lens into the social and cultural transformation in mid twentieth century. Their contributions would not be limited to aesthetic projects, but it also encompassed the expansion of new social, cultural and professional roles available to women and their forms of collective struggles for full civic enfranchisement.

Alejandra Uslenghi is Associate Professor of Spanish & Portuguese and Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of Latin America at fin-de-siècle Universal Exhibitions. Modern Cultures of Visuality(Palgrave, 2016) and has editedWalter Benjamin. Culturas de la imagenand co-editedLa cámara como método. La fotografía moderna de Grete Stern y Horacio Coppola(Eterna Cadencia, Buenos Aires, 2011 and 2021). She has written on modern Latin American visual culture, particularly photography, for academic journals, exhibition catalogs and inthe press. Her current project focuses on understudied areas in the history of photography in Latin America from nineteenth to mid twentieth century.

Agustin Diez-Fischer, Espigas Research Center (Buenos Aires)/PLAS Visiting Fellow;
Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, Harvard University/Independent Curator

Javier Guerrero, PLAS Acting Director

This lecture is being offered in-person for Princeton University ID holders only. Registration is required to attend.

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