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Rethinking Heritage and Photography: Comparative Case Studies from Cyprus and Cambodia

Sterling, CP; (2015) Rethinking Heritage and Photography: Comparative Case Studies from Cyprus and Cambodia. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis critically examines the complex interrelationship of heritage and photography, focusing in particular on the photographic life of two heritage sites: Angkor in Cambodia and the town of Famagusta, Cyprus. The core line of enquiry guiding this research concerns the various processes through which photography might be said to ‘shape’ heritage (and vice-versa). To this end I begin by outlining a theoretical framework that addresses the idea of ‘shaping’ from three often-contradictory perspectives: social constructionism, affect, and Massumi’s notion of topological transformation. From this analytical foundation a critical review of the historical intersections of heritage and photography is undertaken. Based on previous scholarship in the field and a critique of select publications, exhibitions and archival productions, this general background research is navigated via six core themes: trace, memory, universality, series, cliché and authenticity. Drawing together heritage and photography in thought provoking ways, these themes also resonate across the subsequent case studies, where the work of John Thomson - who documented both Angkor and Famagusta in the nineteenth century - acts as a point of departure. Following a broadly chronological approach, I go on to discuss the role of photography in colonial and postcolonial heritage constructions, disparate articulations of memory that emerge in the deployment of photography at both locations, and, finally, the affective experience of photography at the sites today. Crucially, throughout this multi-sited archival and ethnographic research photography is understood not simply as a representational form, but as an embodied practice (act), material presence (object), and discursive apparatus (medium). This conceptual and methodological approach allows for a more nuanced understanding of the interconnections between heritage and photography to emerge, taking us beyond issues of representation and towards a recognition of the central role photography has in (re)configuring the values, practices, affective qualities and ethics of heritage writ large.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Rethinking Heritage and Photography: Comparative Case Studies from Cyprus and Cambodia
Event: University College London
Language: English
Keywords: Critical Heritage; Photography; Affect; Cambodia; Cyprus
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1471057
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