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Photographic diplomacy in the postwar world: UNESCO and the conception of photography as a universal language, 1946-1956

Allbeson, Tom 2015. Photographic diplomacy in the postwar world: UNESCO and the conception of photography as a universal language, 1946-1956. Modern Intellectual History 12 (2) , pp. 383-415. 10.1017/S1479244314000316

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Abstract

In the postwar decade, UNESCO aimed to create an international public sphere to secure peace. The organization made extensive use of photographs to do so, including the photographic archive of works of art and photojournalism from the ruined cities of Europe. However, photography was not simply a transparent medium for communicating internationalist ideals; it was a formative influence in shaping UNESCO's effort to build “peace in the minds of men”. This essay analyses the conception of photography as a universal language articulated in UNESCO-sponsored forums, the use of photography in UNESCO publications concerning human rights and educational reconstruction, and the internationalist ideals of world culture and world citizenship relevant to UNESCO's early work. Analysis reveals that UNESCO's use of photography was less the valuable deployment of a universal language suited to an internationalist agenda than it was the universalizing of certain cultural values in pursuit of the organization's utopian vision.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 1479-2443
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 December 2017
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2019 14:48
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/107158

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