Photographic Contact Zones: The Mexican Travel Photographs of Fritz Neugass

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Fritz Neugass (1899-1979) was a photographer and arts journalist who fled the Nazi regime in his native Germany to the United States in 1941. In her talk, Kressner explores Neugass’s travel photographs in the context of the multifaceted tradition of photography of the post-revolutionary Mexico by visitors hailing from the North.

The Libraries’ M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives acquired his photographs and papers in 1983 to include in its German and Jewish Intellectual Émigré Collections (http://library.albany.edu/speccoll/findaids/eresources/static/ger.html#about ), which document the mass migration of German-speaking intellectuals from the Nazi regime.


Ilka Kressner is Associate Professor of Spanish; her scholarship and teaching examine Spanish American literature, film, and visual arts from a variety of cultural and national contexts, often from a comparative perspective. She has published Sites of Disquiet: The Non-Space in Spanish American Short Narratives and Their Cinematic Transformations (Purdue UP, 2013), and has co-edited Walter Benjamin Unbound (2015, special issue of Annals of Scholarship).

She currently has two projects in research phase: Her book project analyzes the Latin American travel photographs by Jewish émigré artists Ellen Auerbach and Fritz Neugass from the 1950s to 70s. She proposes that both photographers use their camera not as means of recording, but of interaction that aim at building "contact zones" and bridges between heterogeneous space-times. Her second project is a joint venture, together with Elizabeth Pettinaroli (Rhodes College) and Ana María Mutis (Trinity University) towards an edited volume on comparative ecocritical studies of Latin American writing, film, painting, and performance that address the topic of ecological "slow violence" (Nixon), acts of violence that are invisible becase they are dispersed across time and space.

To learn more about Ilka Kressner and her work, please click on the link below


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