Heather McNabb

PhD. History, ABD

Project Title: Visions of Canada: Historic Photographs and their Changing Role in Museum Practice.

My project is on the subject of the lives of historic photographs in the space of the museum and archive.  I am interested in the changing ways in which photographs have been used (or not) in order to tell different stories about the past.  My starting point is the idea, popularized by Arjun Appadurai and Igor Kopytoff in The Social Life of Things, of being able to understand more about human culture and society by a close examination of the “biography” (or the trajectory through time) of material objects or classes of objects. My work is also informed by the concept, suggested by Elizabeth Edwards in many of her works, of the “infinite recodability of photographs”.

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