Re-turning History: Photography against Forgetting in post-apartheid South Africa

Monday, 27 March 2017

The UCD Humanities Institute is delighted to welcome Dr Kylie Thomas, Institute of Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State, South Africa, to UCD. Dr Thomas will deliver her paper Re-turning History: Photography against Forgetting in post-apartheid South Africa on Monday, 27 March 2017 at 2pm in room H204, UCD Humanities Institute

In this lecture, Kylie Thomas will share some of her current work on photography and traumatic histories. She will argue that the capacity of photographs to re-turn history does not only lead to the melancholic state brought about by the realization that we are too late to intervene in the disasters that have preceded us, but can serve as a galvanizing force for resistance. She will focus on the work of the Burning Museum Collective and their visual interventions that make use of photographs of the past to interrupt the amnesia of the present.


Burning Museum Collective, Cape Town, 2015

Kylie Thomas is a Research Associate at the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State, South Africa and a Visiting Fellow at the UCD Humanities Institute. She completed her PhD at the University of Cape Town in 2007 and her MA at the University of British Columbia in 1999. She is a transdisciplinary scholar whose work focuses on political violence; feminist, queer and anti-racist activism and art; and the history and theory of photography, with a particular focus on South Africa during and after apartheid. She is the author of Impossible Mourning: HIV/AIDS and Visuality after apartheid (Bucknell UP & Wits UP: 2014) and co-editor of Photography in and Out of Africa: Iterations with Difference (Routledge: 2016). She currently holds a European Holocaust Research Infrastructure Fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam where she is working on a book project on women photographers and resistance to repressive regimes.