Puncturing History's Blindness

Monday 9 March at 18:30 in EV 1.605
Concordia University

Carol Williams
Trent University

In Framing the West: Race, Gender, and the Photographic Frontier in the Pacific Northwest, Carol Williams argues that 19th-century portraiture on the British northwest coast benefited Euro/Anglo-American settlement and disadvantaged Aboriginal subjects who, during this era, were dispossessed of civil rights and territory as well as penalized for cultural, linguistic, and ceremonial practices. Does the power to construct public, or bureaucratic, meaning for the photograph across both time and space always remain in the hands of those possessing political, economic, racial, or social authority?

Carol Williams, a historian, holds a Canada Research Chair in Feminist and Gender Studies at Trent University. Her first book Framing the West: Race, Gender, and the Photographic Frontier in the Pacific Northwest (OUP, 2003) challenged the conventional assumption that Euro-American newcomers uniformly controlled the photographic gaze in the 19th century colonial setting. She has written extensively on contemporary art and photography including, most recently, on Dagmar Dahle, Jin-me Yoon, and Marian Penner Bancroft, and has published interviews with Doreen Jensen, Laiwan, Jamelie Hassan, Sara Diamond, and Melinda Mollineaux, among others. Before entering academia as a mature student, she laboured as a waitress.

Image: Stephen Spencer, Anne Hunt Spencer, Victoria, c. 1880s. British Columbia Archives.