Sonya de Laat

North Campus Building Room 440
University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5B7
Fax: 519-661-3506
My current interests are broadly to do with histories of the moral, political, and social dimensions of the visual culture of humanitarianism and human rights. While drawn to the highly visible performative & perceptual aspects of humanitarian action, my dissertation explores the photographic situation of aid. With previous degrees in anthropology, I am applying a cultural history and critical visual theory lens to my current research. I am particularly drawn to the role of photography in shaping spectators' imagination of others (e.g., their differences, similarities; their sufferings), and in mediating social relations. Taking a historical lens allows me to trace changes and continuities in these respects, and in seeing current issues from the different points of view that looking at the past can offer. I am also a research coordinator for the Humanitarian Health Ethics Research Group at McMaster University, a research assistant with the Canadian Network of Humanitarian Historians & a practicing visual artist.