Today is the last official day of my fellowship, and I wanted to look back. What was the intention of The Emotional Body blog, and what has it become?
This blog was born in February 2014 with my Wellcome Trust research project “The Emotional Body”. It was intended to be the space where I put bits of my research on photographic practices and emotions in French medical sciences during the nineteenth century. In these two years, I wrote, for instance, a series of posts on Photographing Expressions, focusing on Duchenne de Bloulogne, Charles Darwin, the Salpêtrière and Albert Londe.
But this space also went beyond my particular research project.
I have written about topics that suddenly caught my attention and had to do with photography and emotions or science. One year ago, I talked about the photograph of the refugee child who washed up in a European beach. The photograph had been so massively circulated, and provoked so many reactions, that I wanted to think about how photography can mobilise emotions -and how to even start to discuss this issue. Other posts, such as the one on criminal photography and the credits of Orange is the New Black, or ballet photography, were intended to apply historical concepts to popular culture. In this line, I particularly enjoyed writing on the (in)famous photograph of the V-Day kiss. How could an image of street harassment become an icon for romantic gestures?
Feminism has been a growing concern in my blog. As I reflected on this post, I (try to) live a feminist life, but I don’t know how to materialise my feminism in my scholarship. Related to this, I wrote about how feminism, emotions and material culture are intertwined in my post on the Slashed Venus.
More broadly, I have wanted to use this page to think about photographic history. I wrote a first post on the differences between the history of photography and photographic history: the history (of anything) through photographic material. More recently, I published why I think photographic history matters. This is a long read, but it could be my manifesto.
In the last months, however, I started to get personal and publish about my feelings about academia and being an ECR. The rollercoaster of the job hunt materialised in posts where I thanked my academic friends for being amazing and their constant support, reflected on personal stories and privilege (or lack thereof) and set up my resolutions for 2016.
If I had to chose my three favorite posts, I would select: My intellectual home -my love letter to the PHRC-, Academic Randomness (where I celebrate the serendipity of academic paths and decisions) and my most personal text, the one I’ve dedicated to my grandparents (which has nothing to do with the academia, but with life).
I’ve enjoyed writing this blog, a lot -but not in the way I expected. At first, I thought it would be a great way to disseminate my research findings. Two years later, I realise that writing this blog had nothing to do with that. It has provided me a space to think and write outside the rigid framework of academic texts, to try new ways to write in English and find my voice in a foreign language.
This is the last post of The Emotional Body blog -but not the last of this blog! In the coming days, I’ll rearrange sections and find a new name and a new image.
Thank you all for reading, commenting, sharing, liking. You’re the best.
Exciting times ahead!