FIMS Profile

Dr. Sharon Sliwinski
Professor

FIMS & Nursing Building Room Suite 2050
Phone: 519-661-2111 x88473

FIMS & Nursing Building Room 4030
Phone: 519-661-2111 x88473

University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5B7
Fax: 519-661-3506
ssliwins@uwo.ca
  • Research

  • Publications

  • Theses Supervised

(MA, PhD, Social & Political Thought, York University) she/her/hers

Professor Sliwinski’s work bridges the fields of visual culture, political theory, and the life of the mind. She is the author of several books and numerous articles, chapters, and commentaries on photography, human rights, and the social imaginary. She also works collaboratively with a wide variety of artists, scholars, and practitioners through a research project called The Museum of Dreams.

Sliwinski hosts a podcast series called The Guardians of Sleep. The first season, which evolved out of a partnership with the Museum of London (UK), explores how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the dream-life of people living in the British capital. 

Current projects also include An Alphabet for Dreamers (in progress), a selection of short essays that define dreaming, like play, as a key activity for emotional and psychological well-being, and a radical form of thought that animates culture, politics, and society.

Her published books include: Dreaming in Dark Times (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) which explores how the disclosure of dream-life represents a special kind of communicative gesture—a form of unconscious thinking that can serve as a potent brand of political intervention and a means for resisting sovereign power.

Photography and the Optical Unconscious (with Shawn Michelle Smith, Duke University Press, 2017). This edited collection focuses on Walter Benjamin's concept of the optical unconscious to investigate how photography has shaped history, modernity, perception, lived experience, politics, race, and human agency.

Mandela's Dark Years (University of Minnesota Press, 2015) offers a political reading of dream-life inspired by one of Nelson Mandela’s recurring nightmares. This little chapbook navigates the psychology of apartheid, recasting dreaming as a vital form of resistance to political violence.

Sliwinski’s first book, Human Rights in Camera (University of Chicago Press, 2011) examines the visual images that have accompanied human rights struggles and the passionate responses people have had to them. It was awarded the Charles Taylor Book Award from the American Political Science Association in 2013.

In 2017, Sliwinski was elected to the Royal Society of Canada's College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. She serves on the editorial boards of Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development and Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies. She was one of the founding members of the research collective known as the Toronto Photography Seminar.

In the fall of 2021, Professor Sliwinski will be an honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London (UK). In the summer of 2022, she will be a Mercator Fellow at Saarland University in Germany.

Apart from her primary appointment in the Faculty of Information & Media Studies, Professor Sliwinski is a core member of the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism and an affiliate in the Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Resolution. 

 Books

> Dreaming in Dark Times: Six Exercises in Political Thought (University of Minnesota Press, 2017)
Reviewed in the Huffington Post, Contemporary Political Theory, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association (JAPA), and the Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies

> Photography and the Optical Unconscious, co-edited with Shawn Michelle Smith (Duke University Press, 2017)

> Mandela's Dark Years: A Political Theory of Dreaming (University of Minnesota Press, 2015)
The book is also freely available on Manifold, an open-source online platform. Reviewed in African Studies Quarterly, and Africa is a Country.

> Human Rights In Camera (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
Winner of the Charles Taylor Book Award from the American Political Science Association. Reviewed in Times Higher Education, Journal of Human Rights, Photography and Culture, College Art Association Reviews, and Choice Reviews

Podcast

> The Guardians of SleepBuilt out of conversations with the public and encompassing work by scientists, artists, and philosophers, this podcast explores how dreaming serves as an integral psychological process that helps us work through the struggles we face in our waking lives.

Research Creation Projects 

> The Museum of Dreams: is a collaborative online hub for exploring the social and political significance of dream-life.

Recent Articles & Chapters

> The Acoustics of Civil Resistance, Journalism, Special issue on “Prosthetic Witnessing” eds. Lilie Chouliaraki and Mette Mortensen (forthcoming) 

> A World of Appearances, In For Ever More Images? Ed. Alexander Strecker (Athens: Onassis Stegi, 2020), Pp. 188-190   

> The Woman Who Walks Through Photographs, Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development, Volume 9, Number 3, Winter 2018, pp. 469-480

> Sexual Violence in the Field of Vision, In Visual Imagery and Human Rights Practice, Ed. Sandra Ristovska and Monroe Price (Geneva: Springer, 2018)

> The Right to an Image, In Visualizing Human Rights, Ed. Jane Lydon (Perth: University of Western Australia Publishing, 2018)

> An Ode to Reverie, In Lulu Journal, Monthly Journal of the Luleå Biennial Nr. 4 (December) 2018

> Human Rights, In Visual Global Politics, Ed. Roland Bleiker (London: Routledge, 2018)

> Sexuality in the Time of War, or, How rape became a crime against humanity, In The Flood of Rights, Eds. Thomas Keenan, Suhail Malik, Tirdad Zolghadr, (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2017).

> Evocative Objects: A Sexual Violence Primer, Humanity: An International Journal OF Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development,, Vol. 4 no. 3 (2016): 477-480

> Before the Law, In Activestills: Photography as Protest in Palestine and Israel, Eds. Vered Maimon and Shiraz Grinbaum (London: Pluto Press, 2016), Pp. 206-213

> The Face of Our Wartime, Photography and Culture Vol. 8 no. 2 (November 2015): 233- 241

> Inventing Human Dignity, In The Routledge Companion to Human Rights and Literature, Eds. Alexandra Moore and Sophie McClennan (London: Routledge, 2015), Pp. 174-184

> That Incorrigible Disturber of the Peace, The Vera List Center Field Guide on Art and Social Justice, No. 1, Ed. Carin Kuoni and Chelsea Haines, (New York: Vera List Center for Art and Politics & Duke University Press, 2015), Pp. 14-22

Full list of publications here.


Sukhan, Tiara. Watching and Working Through: Navigating Non-being in Television Storytelling
Phd in Media Studies, April 2019
Supervisor: Sharon Sliwinski
Freier, Amy J.. Exhibiting Human Rights: Making the Means of Dignity Visible
Phd in Media Studies, May 2018
Supervisor: Sharon Sliwinski
de Laat, Sonya. Regarding Aid: The Photographic Situation of Humanitarianism
Phd in Media Studies, October 2017
Supervisor: Sharon Sliwinski
Taschereau Mamers, Danielle. Settler Colonial Ways of Seeing: Documentary Governance of Indigenous Life in Canada and its Disruption
Phd in Media Studies, May 2017
Supervisor: Sharon Sliwinski
Preston, Jeffrey Michael. Fantasizing Disability: Representation of Loss and Limitation in Popular Television and Film
Phd in Media Studies, August 2014
Supervisor: Sharon Sliwinski
McGeagh, Brendan. From Canada For the World: National Myth and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Master of Arts in Media Studies, July 2010
Supervisor: Sharon Sliwinski
Cohen, Dustin. Objet Petit (a)vatar: Psychoanalysis, Posthumanism and the Question of the Self in Second Life Student
Master of Arts in Media Studies, November 2009
Supervisors: Alison Hearn and Sharon Sliwinski