International Visual
Sociology
Association

International Visual Sociology Association

The IVSA

IVSA is committed to open and free intellectual discourse surrounding the visual representation of society and culture

The International Visual Sociology Association (IVSA) is a nonprofit, democratic, and academically -oriented professional organization devoted to the visual study of society, culture, and social relationships. Our members represent a wide spectrum of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, education, visual communication, photography, filmmaking, art, and journalism. On this site you can become a member of the IVSA, view some of our members work or find out more about our annual conference.

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  • Conference
  • Membership
  • The IVSA
  • Conference

    Conference

    Each year IVSA members gather in a different global location to share their work in visual sociology, visual studies, visual ethnography, documentary film and photography, public art, arts-based research, and visual literacy and education.

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  • Membership

    Membership

    IVSA membership is open to any person regardless of occupation, citizenship, or residence. The organizational membership represents a wide spectrum of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, education, visual communication, photography, art, journalism, and related fields.

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  • The IVSA

    The IVSA

    The International Visual Sociology Association (IVSA) is a nonprofit, democratic, and academically -oriented professional organization devoted to the visual study of society, culture, and social relationships.

    Read more

  • Showcase
  • Journal
  • Awards
  • Showcase

    Showcase

    IVSA members are leaders and innovators in art, photography, filmmaking, and image-based research. Check out our member showcase to see examples of our work.

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  • Journal

    Journal

    Visual Studies is the official journal of the International Visual Sociology Association. As a major international, peer-reviewed journal, Visual Studies presents visually-oriented articles across a range of disciplines.

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  • Awards

    Awards

    IVSA administer both the Rieger Award Program for outstanding work by graduate students in visual sociology and the Prosser Award Program for outstanding work by beginning scholars in visual methodologies.

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Latest News

Updates and news about the IVSA and its membership

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS FOR GRADUATE STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE

The IVSA is governed by its Executive Board, which consists of President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Technology Advisor, Visual Studies Editor, Graduate Student Representative and nine elected Board Members.

The following IVSA Executive Board position is now open for nominations and self-nominations:

  • Graduate Student Representative (GSR)

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Call for Proposals to Host Annual Conference

The IVSA has launched a call for proposals from individuals and organizations interested in hosting our annual conference. Proposals are being accepted for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

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IVSA Membership

  • Annual subscription to Visual Studies Journal
  • An invitation to IVSA’s Annual Conference
  • Shared Resources
  • Participation in IVSA’s Showcase

Join the IVSA today

  • Tracy Xavia Karner: IVSA Board Member
  • Timothy Shortell: IVSA Board Member
  • Gill Golding: IVSA Technology Advisor
  • Laura Porterfield: IVSA Board Member
  • YOLANDA HERNÁNDEZ-ALBÚJAR: IVSA Board Member
  • David Herman Jr: IVSA Board Member
  • Jerome Krase: IVSA Board Member
  • Susan Hansen: IVSA Board Member
  • Relebohile Moletsane
  • Anja Weller: IVSA Board Member
  • Molly Merryman: IVSA Vice President
  • Greg Scott: IVSA President
  • Tracy Xavia Karner: IVSA Board Member

    I have been involved with IVSA since I attended the first Bologna meetings 1996. This was also my introduction to visually focused research. As a long time photo-enthusiast, I am both a maker and appreciator of photographs of all genres. The IVSA offered a way to bring both my love of photography together with my academic pursuits.

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  • Timothy Shortell: IVSA Board Member

    Timothy Shortell is a professor of sociology at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He is a social psychologist studying urban geography using visual spatial semiotics.

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  • Gill Golding: IVSA Technology Advisor

    I’m a Visiting Research Fellow within the Centre for Urban and Community Research at Goldsmiths, University of London, Education Director of the Urban Photographers Association, Organiser of the International Urban Photography Summer School and the Competition Organiser for UrbanPhotoFest…

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  • Laura Porterfield: IVSA Board Member

    Laura Krystal Porterfield, Ph.D. is an urban educator, visualist, and youth culture scholar. Having grown up in El Paso, Texas, Laura is the daughter of two Mississippi transplants who instilled in her the value and promise of higher education.

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  • YOLANDA HERNÁNDEZ-ALBÚJAR: IVSA Board Member

    I am a professor at the Universidad Loyola Andalucía, in Seville where I teach courses in Anthropology of Communication, Cultural Anthropology, and Migration.

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  • David Herman Jr: IVSA Board Member

    I am a lens-based artist, educator, and scholar whose work explores the relations between the perceptual and the social. My current research is grounded in a belief that the social is inherently political and that visual studies provides distinct opportunities to engage and understand the affective nature of being with difference.

  • Jerome Krase: IVSA Board Member

    Although I am probably much better known as a Sociologist who studies Urban Neighborhoods and much more likely to define myself as an Activist or Public Scholar, almost all of my work has been “visual” in one way or another.

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  • Susan Hansen: IVSA Board Member

    I am Convenor of the Visual Methods Group and Chair of the Forensic Psychology Research Group at Middlesex University, London. I have a background in ethnomethodology and conversation analysis and a PhD in Social Psychology.

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  • Relebohile Moletsane

    I am Professor and John Langalibalele Dube Chair in Rural Education in the School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. My areas of research include rural education, gender and education, sexual and reproductive health education, girlhood studies and girls education in Southern African contexts.

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  • Anja Weller: IVSA Board Member

    I studied media and communication studies at the University of Technology Chemnitz and finished my Ph.D. in visual communication. In my dissertation, I developed the creative interview as an alternative to language-based interviews to access implicit knowledge and imaginations constructed in the everyday life.

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  • Molly Merryman: IVSA Vice President

    I am an associate professor of Sociology and the coordinator of the LGBT Studies program at Kent State University. I primarily teach in the Master’s program in Criminology & Criminal Justice, where my focus is in Victimology and diversity.

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  • Greg Scott: IVSA President

    I am the director of the Social Science Research Center and a professor in the department of sociology at DePaul University where I teach courses on substance use and abuse, underground economies, street gangs…

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  • Tracy Xavia Karner: IVSA Board Member
  • Timothy Shortell: IVSA Board Member
  • Gill Golding: IVSA Technology Advisor
  • Laura Porterfield: IVSA Board Member
  • YOLANDA HERNÁNDEZ-ALBÚJAR: IVSA Board Member
  • David Herman Jr: IVSA Board Member
  • Jerome Krase: IVSA Board Member
  • Susan Hansen: IVSA Board Member
  • Relebohile Moletsane
  • Anja Weller: IVSA Board Member
  • Molly Merryman: IVSA Vice President
  • Greg Scott: IVSA President
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    The function of sociology, as of every science, is to reveal that which is hidden.

    Pierre Bourdieu

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    The task for sociology is to come to the help of the individual. We have to be in service of freedom. It is something we have lost sight of.

    Zygmunt Bauman

  • I believe that we face incredible obstacles in our attempts to see the world. Everything in our nature tries to deny the world around us; to refabricate it in our own image; to reinvent it for our own benefit. And so, it becomes something of a challenge, a task, to recover (or at least attempt to recover) the real world despite all the impediments to that end.

    Errol Morris

  • We never really know what’s around the corner when we’re filming – what turn a story will take, what a character will do or say to surprise us, how the events in the world will impact our story.

    Barbara Kopple

  • If you want to tell the untold stories, if you want to give voice to the voiceless, you’ve got to find a language. Which goes for film as well as prose, for documentary as well as autobiography. Use the wrong language, and you’re dumb and blind.

    Salman Rushdie

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    There are dignified stupidities, and there are heroic stupidities, and there is such a thing as stupid stupidities, and that would be a stupid stupidity not to have a camera on board.

    Werner Herzog

  • Watching a documentary with people hacking their way through some polar wasteland is merely a visual. Actually trying to deal with cold that can literally kill you is quite a different thing.

    Henry Rollins

  • Photographers learn to interpret photographs in that technical way because they want to understand and use that ‘language’ themselves (just as musicians learn a more technical musical language than the layman needs). Social scientists who want to work with visual materials will have to learn to approach them in this more studious and time-consuming way

    Howard Becker

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    One advantage of photography is that it’s visual and can transcend language.

    Lisa Kristine

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    Visual culture is now the study of how to understand change in a world too enormous to see but vital to imagine.

    Nicholas Mirzoeff

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    Every photograph promises more than it delivers and delivers more than it intended.

    Steve Harp

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    For any picture, ask yourself what question or questions it might be answering. Since the picture could answer many, questions, we can decide what question we are interested in.

    Howard Becker

  • You try your hardest to give people their space, but at moments you know you’re capturing their image in ways they may or may not be okay with. It’s that rocking back and forth between respect and betrayal that I feel like is at the heart of the film.

    Kirsten Johnson

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    Sometimes one picture is equal to 30 pages of discourse, just as there are things images are completely incapable of communicating.

    William S. Burroughs

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    Reality changes; in order to represent it, modes of representation must change.

    Bertolt Brecht

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    If it’s far away, it’s news, but if it’s close at home, it’s sociology.

    James Reston

  • Give us adequate images. We lack adequate images. Our civilization does not have adequate images. And I think a civilization is doomed or is going to die out like dinosaurs if it doesn’t develop an adequate language for adequate images.

    Werner Herzog

  • Before I became a film major, I was very heavily into social science, I had done a lot of sociology, anthropology, and I was playing in what I call social psychology, which is sort of an offshoot of anthropology/sociology – looking at a culture as a living organism, why it does what it does.

    George Lucas

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