Between visual history and public history: Selected screen versions of the Bohdan Khmelnytsky uprising
A guest lecture by Jacek Szymala, PhD (Cultural Studies Institute, University of Wroclaw), visual historian, cultural studies researcher, author and editor of several books and scientific articles. Latest research interests: Polish-Norwegian scientific relations and Montenegrin film.
I will start with a definition of visual history and an introduction to public history (an approach that facilitates a dissemination of historical knowledge among the general public). Next, I will talk about the background of my work on the monograph "The Cossack uprising of 1648-1658: A study in visual history". I will particularly focus on memorial sites as elements conducive to tourist attraction. Selected films (a Soviet one, unsubtitled, from 1941 and a Polish one, with English subtitles, from 1999) will also be briefly analyzed. Generally, the example of selected visualizations of the Cossack uprising shows a smooth interpenetration between historical politics and historiography, on the one hand, and iconosphere, on the other. In each historical period, an official and alternative version (vision) of a given event can be distinguished. When we talk about the visual history of the events of the seventeenth century, we are also talking about the history of ideas from the seventeenth century to modern times, including ours and today's thinking about the seventeenth century. In visual history, therefore, we can find elements of political and social history, not just cultural history (as one might think). The question about the relationship between visual history and public history remains open.
This is the first lecture in a mini-series (the rest, in the spring semester, will be devoted to Polish documentary films about Northern Norway).