Creating Kurdistan: The Role of Photography as Discursive Documents

Saturday 23 October 2010

This paper will use Susan Meiselas’ Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History to explore a socially engaged representation of the Kurdish people that is eclectic and relational in its formation.  Meiselas’ Kurdistan can be thought of a relational in its practice, where the understanding of aesthetics shifts from the formal qualities of the image to be understood as the formation of relations between the image and its audience. This helps to move the debate beyond the critique of representation, seeking to reinvest these practices with a social agency. The consideration of photography as discursive and relational also undermines the authority of the documentary image as a statement of fact allowing for a reconsideration of the work as a catalyst for debate, becoming in the process reflexively political.

To cite this document:
Devlin, Liam. 2010. “Creating Kurdistan: The Role of Photography as Discursive Documents”. Within Imaginaires du présent: Photographie, politique et poétique de l'actualité. Symposium hosted by Figura, Centre de recherche sur le texte et l'imaginaire. Montréal, Université du Québec à Montréal, 23 octobre 2010. Document vidéo. Available online: l’Observatoire de l’imaginaire contemporain. <>. Accessed on March 21, 2023.
Historical Periodization:
Geographical Context:
Fields of Discipline:
Objects and Cultural Practices: