MA graduate of Anthropology Sarah Liegmann has been granted the Pre-Doc Award by the University of Leipzig. The award provides a one-year position and supports the development of a PhD project. It is handed out to teams consisting of one pre-doc candidate – Sarah Liegmann - and a postdoc researcher – Stefanie Mauksch – who develop the project.
The project is titled: “Disability through the Lens of Anthropologists: Photographic Construction and Museal Presentation”
Project description: Disability Studies and anthropology share in common a notion of disability as constructed difference. Discourses of disability produce the binary division between “able” and “disabled” not only through medical diagnosis and ascriptive language, but also through visual representation. By documenting and showing divergent bodies that are then “read” and completed by viewers, images produce disability through intervisuality (or visual intertextuality). Our project investigates why, how, and with what effects late 19th and early 20th century anthropologists produced images of disabled people in the colonies, and how these images circulated as documents of proof in context of imperialism and eugenics. We examine the photos with regard to how they produce bodily difference. Further, we seek to understand how these photographs are being stored, revived and interpreted in contemporary museal and archival contexts. Through such comparative angle, the project reveals continuities and tensions between different modalities, historical contexts, and audiences of images of disabled people, asking how disability is phenomenologically experienced through these images.