Professor Elizabeth Edwards

Project Leader
De Montfort University, Leicester
Photographic History Research Centre, Portland Building, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH
United Kingdom
+44 (0)116 257 7670

Elizabeth Edwards is an historian by training but has been fully absorbed by anthropology. She works on the relationship between photography, anthropology and history, especially in the Pacific, on cross-cultural visual histories, on photographs as material culture and the history of collecting and institutional practices.  Until 2005 she was Curator of Photographs at Pitt Rivers Museum and lecturer in Visual Anthropology at University of Oxford, and then Senior Research Fellow at the University of the Arts London (LCC) until 2011. She has recently taken up the post of Research Professor and Director of the Photographic History Research Centre at De Montfort University. As well as being project leader for PhotoCLEC she is further developing her work on the multi-sensory nature of the photograph, and working on photography and historical imagination in late nineteenth and early twentieth century England. The monograph will be published by Duke University Press in February 2012. She is currently Vice-President of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.


Research Interests: 

Photographs as material culture, the senses and emotion.

Photography and historical imagination in the UK

Cross-cultural perspectives in photographic practice.

Photographs and visual history

Relationship between photography and museum practice.

The history of photograph collections in anthropology.

The relationship between anthropology, photography and history.


 2009. Photography, Anthropology and History (ed, with C. Morton).Aldershot: Ashgate.

2009. ‘Photography and the material performance of the past’, History 

and Theory, 48 (4):130-150.

2009. 'Evolving Images: Photography, Race and Popular Darwinism’ in D.

Donald & J. Munro (eds)

Endless Forms, Darwin, Natural Sciences and the  

Visual Arts, New Haven/London, Yale University

Press. pp. 166-193. 

2009. ‘Thinking Photography beyond the Visual ?’ in J.Long, A. Noble and

E. Welch (eds) Photography:

Theoretical Snapshots. London: Routledge, pp. 31-48.

2008. ‘Entangled Documents: Visualised Histories’ Susan Meiselas In

History New York: Steidl/ICP. pp.


2008. Visual Sense: The Cultural Reader ed. with K.Bhaumik. Oxford: 


2008. ‘Straightforward and Ordered: Amateur Photographic Surveys and  

Scientific Aspiration 1885

1914. Photography and Culture 1(2):185-210.

2007.‘Samuel Butler’s Photography: Observation and the Dynamic Past. 

In James Paradis (ed.

Samuel Butler: Victorian Against the Grain.

Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. 251-286.

2006. Sensible Objects: Colonialism, Material Culture and the Senses. ed.  

with C.Gosden & R Philips.

Oxford: Berg.

2006. ‘Photographs and the Sound of History’ Visual Anthropology Review 


2004. Photographs Objects Histories: On the Materiality of Images,  ed.  

with Janice Hart. London:


2001. Raw Histories: Photographs, Anthropology and Museums. Oxford: 



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