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Katharina Jörder

Porträtfoto Katharina Jörder
Image Credit: Miriam Klingl

TB B01 "Affective Dynamics of Images in the Era of Social Media"


Habelschwerdter Allee 45
Room JK 33/222
14195 Berlin


Since October 2018: Researcher at CRC Affective Societies, Freie Universität Berlin, Project "Affective Dynamics of Images in the Age of Social Media", (substitute during maternity leave of Verena Straub).

January-July 2016: Visiting researcher at Wits School of Arts, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg/South Africa.

September 2015-August 2018: Dissertation grant, German National Academic Foundation.

Since 2014: PhD project: "Building a White Nation. The Propaganda Photography of the Apartheid Regime, 1948-1966" (working title).

2006-2013: M.A. in Art History at Freie Universität Berlin. B.A. in Art History and Italian Philology at Freie Universität Berlin and Università degli Studi di Roma Tre, Rome/Italy.

  • African photography, especially South African photography of the twentieth century
  • Political use of photography
  • Visual Culture Studies

Building a White Nation. The propaganda photography of the apartheid regime, 1948-1966 (working title)

In my dissertation, I examine the propagandistic use of photography by the apartheid-regime between 1948 and 1966 and how it correlated with the discourses and practices of exercising power. I argue that – unlike other repressive states – the South African nationalists deployed an inconspicuous image policy and did not develop a specific photographic aesthetic. In doing so, they were able to propagate the building of a white nation in the guise of normality.

The years until 1966 are of particular interest for my research, since during this period major efforts were made to define South Africa as a white nation state (e.g. festivals, passing of major race laws, foundation of the republic in 1961).

Against this background, I question the relations between propaganda photography and the Afrikaners’ historical self-concept. Moreover, I examine the prevalent visual tropes, iconographies and ask how they reflected the demarcations within apartheid-society. Sources that I will analyse are predominantly photographs that South Africa’s information services produced and distributed. Throughout apartheid, the information services functioned as the regime’s central propaganda apparatus. Taking into account the use of these photographs in publications that were also issued by the information services, the analysis outlines their ideological framing. I am going to demonstrate how single images, iconographies as well as visual strategies refer back to colonialist imagery, but also how they relate to the so-called anti-apartheid-photography and to more recent developments in photography.

Roland Barthes’ concept of mythologies (Barthes 1964), Tom Holert’s writings on the exercising of power through images (Holert 2000, 2008) as well as the discussion of colonial image politics (e.g. Landau 2002) will comprise the photo-theoretical framework.

  • Celebrating the Volk. On Photographs of the Voortrekker Monument’s Inauguration (1949) by the State Information Office. In: Brenda Schmahmann, Federico Freschi, Lize van Robbroeck (eds.), Troubling Images: Visual Culture and the Politics of Afrikaner Nationalism, Johannesburg: Wits University Press, (in preparation).

  • Constructing White Legitimacy. The Re-enactment of Jan van Riebeeck’s Landing (1952) in Photographs by the Apartheid Regime’s State Information Office. In: Irene Graziani et al. (eds.), The Myth of the ‘Enemy’: the mutable faces of the Other and the construction of European identities, Bologna: Minerva, 2019, p. 443-450.

  • Blick über die Landschaft. Zur Migration eines Bildtopos im Kontext der Apartheid. In: Fotogeschichte. Beiträge zur Geschichte und Ästhetik der Fotografie, vol. 36, no. 141, 2016, p. 35-44.

  • Parzellierung des Raumes. Mikhael Subotzkys Fotobuch ‘Beaufort West’. In: Burcu Dogramaci, Désirée Düdder, Stefanie Dufhues, Maria Schindelegger, Anna Volz (eds.), Gedruckt und erblättert. Das Fotobuch als Medium ästhetischer Artikulation seit den 1940er Jahren, Köln: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2016, p. 242-251.

  • Vom Blick über die Schwelle. Das Fotobuch ‘Ponte City’ von Mikhael Subotzky und Patrick Waterhouse. In: Maria Gaida, Paola Ivanov, Viola König et al. (eds.), Baessler-Archiv. Beiträge zur Völkerkunde, vol. 63, 2016, p. 47-67.


  • Review of: Marietta Kesting: Affective Images. Post-Apartheid Documentary Perspectives, Albany: Suny Press 2017, in: sehepunkte 19 (2019), no. 4, URL: http://www.sehepunkte.de/2019/04/32623.html