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We’re surrounded by images. What do they mean?

This June, an international contingent of 300 visual sociology scholars converges on Concordia
April 25, 2017
By Christian Durand

In a society exploding with new media and constant communication, visuals are often able to say more than words.

The field of visual sociology researches and dissects the effect of images. From June 19 to 22, some 300 scholars from around the world will be coming to Concordia for the 35th International Visual Sociology Association (IVSA) Conference.

Carolina Cambre, education professor in Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and Science and a member of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, is at the forefront of visual sociology.

She’s also one of the leading organizers of the conference, along with David Howes, director of Concordia’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture (CISSC).

Cambre is on the Board of the CISSC, which is co-hosting the conference.

“This is a field that takes a serious look at the social and cultural significance of images in society,” she explains. “To better understand society we need to move beyond our focus on language and dissect the meanings of the symbols that surround us.”

This year, the conference will focus on the concepts of framing and reframing. Discussions will consider the work of Erving Goffman, a groundbreaking Canadian sociologist whose work examined the social interactions that govern our lives.

“When it comes to academic research, the exploration of images is inherently interdisciplinary because visuals include design, art and aesthetics,” says Cambre. “It’s also a great way to communicate research in ways that are more digestible to the general public.”

Several events will be open to the public free of charge, including keynote lectures and film screenings.

From presentations on the representation of gender and nature in media culture, to interactive art and games, to films on video lottery addiction, the conference will provide an opportunity to hear from leading experts in the field and gain a new appreciation for how the visual shapes our lives.

Here is a taste of some of the events that you can check out at the conference.

Social Life Through Images: A Speculative History of the Nonhuman
Jody Berland, Humanities professor, York University
Monday, June 19, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Berland’s research and teaching provide interdisciplinary explorations of how nature, technology and representation interact in visual and sonic culture. Her forthcoming book Virtual Menageries in Network Cultures addresses the widespread appearance of animals in contemporary media culture.

Akosua Adomako Ampofo
Thursday, June 22, 5:45 p.m.

Akosua Adomako Ampofo is a professor of African and gender studies at the University of Ghana, and was its director until 2015.  She was also the founding director of the University of Ghana’s Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy.

Adomako Ampofo’s teaching, research and advocacy address African knowledge systems, higher education, identity politics, gender-based violence, women’s work, masculinities, and gender representations in popular culture.

Find the full details on the
IVSA Conference.




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