DSI/NRF SARChI Chair in Visual History & Theory Centre for Humanities Research
Patricia Hayes was awarded the DSI/NRF SARChI Chair in Visual History & Theory in 2016. A scholar of African history, gender studies and visuality, Hayes began research on photography and the question of history after completing her PhD at the University of Cambridge. Initially conceived through an exhibition project on Namibia called ‘The Colonising Camera’ (1998) and supported by the innovative History Department at UWC, the research and teaching project in Visual History became firmly established.
The Chair’s research and teaching converge around issues of visuality, African history, and the archive as method. Visual history brings debates around the image into a discipline that is usually silent about its epistemological underpinnings and temporal understandings. In relation to African history specifically, this inquiry into images allows an interrogation of the different mediums and analytical categories of the history of the continent, from precolonial to contemporary times. Anchored in constantly expanding research in varied archives, the Chair is also part of a movement to promote the preservation and activation of archives, where the archive also becomes part of methodological and philosophical thinking. Specific paradigms and postgraduate research associated with the Chair now include documentary photography; liberation struggles and the post-apartheid; digital photography in the postcolony; and photography and historical method.
Recent publications by the Chair include:
- Photography and Visibility in African History (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2019), co-edited with Gary Minkley (https://www.ohioswallow.com/book/Ambivalent);
- ‘Zenzo Nkobi, ZAPU photographer: exile, visibility, and the anteroom of war in Zambia, 1977-80’ in Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol 46 No 5, 2020;
- ‘War and Vision on New Terms. Archives of the Insensible: Of War, Photopolitics, and Dead Memory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. By Allen Feldman’ in Cultural Critique 109 (Fall 2020).
Patricia Hayes has also edited several journal special issues on visuality and gender including Gender & History (2006) and Kronos (2000 & 2020). She co-authored Bush of Ghosts: Life & War in Namibia (2010) with photographer John Liebenberg, and has published articles on South African photographers Santu Mofokeng, David Goldblatt, Jo Ractliffe, Omar Badsha, Chris Ledochowski and others, as well as Ricardo Rangel and Kok Nam of Mozambique. Her work appears in Okwui Enwezor’s The Rise and Fall of Apartheid (2012), Crais and McLendon’s The South African Reader (2014), Mofokeng’s Chasing Shadows (Prestel 2011), and Ribeiro’s Proximo Futuro on African photography (2013). Articles on photography and the making of publics have appeared in Photographies (Vol 10 No 3, 2017), Cultural Critique (Issue 89, 2015) and Sanil V & Divya Dwivedi’s The Public Sphere from Outside the West (2015). Hayes is also series co-editor of the series Photography, History: History, Photography at Routledge Publishers (https://www.routledge.com/Photography-History-History-Photography/book-series/BLPHOPHHP).