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Professor brings ideas back to the classroom after Paris conference

Jan 29, 2019

During the winter break in Dec., Associate Professor Chris Balaschak participated in an international symposium on photography and capitalism hosted by the National Institute for Art History and the University of Paris, Pantheon-Sorbonne. He presented a paper on the work of African-American photographer and filmmaker Robert van Lierop during the Mozambique War of Independence during the early 1970s.

Panel with Chris Balaschak

Given the uniqueness of the “Photography on Capitalism” conference topic, Balaschak said it was a storied moment in time in which the small field of researchers could gather to discuss and present new ideas and work. One particular subject sticks out in his mind – the ways in which Kodak marketed to women in the early 20th century. Dr. Steve Edwards of the University of London also gave a well-received keynote on daguerreotypes.

Balaschak’s work helped inform the conversation on van Lierop’s use of photographs to promote the Mozambique liberation in the 1970s. Overall, the niche topics discussed provided him with ideas on how to bring practical projects into the classroom via historical photos and photography methods.

Two ideas he's already developing for future classes: “Doing local research on the historic photography studios in St. Augustine, or thinking about how historical models for photography collectives might be a blueprint for class projects.”

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