Visual Culture

The VISUAL CULTURE Working Group of the Cultural Studies Association (CSA) invites both general and themed submissions. The theme of this year’s CSA annual conference, “Culture in the Age of Mass Debt,” addresses the massive scope of debt today, or what Richard Dienst refers to as a “regime of indebtedness.”

In many ways, debt is invisible, existing underneath the material surfaces of daily life for individuals, organizations, and states. And yet, debt is all around us, rendered visible not only through social movements and strike debt campaigns, but also through the very objects and ways of being that bind us to these debts. To elaborate on the CSA theme, the Visual Culture Working Group seeks submissions that address the ways in which debt and indebtedness are rendered visible or conversely, ensconced in invisibility or intangibility. Broad questions include: How is debt imagined, constructed, represented, resisted, and/or mediated, and by whom? How, if at all, do these enactments reflect upon existing formations of power, progress, political economy, social life and culture?  What are the spaces that enclose or open up debt, understood as both an economic reality and cultural phenomena?

Topics may include, but are not limited to:
•    The selling of debt as a tool of empowerment in developing countries through microfinance, labor power, austerity, and/or free-trade zones
•    Social movements and strike debt campaigns, including Occupy and Rolling Jubilee
•    The methods of debt-enculturation, especially in marginalized communities
•    Social media and technologies which serve to “manage” debt
•    The violence of debt/indebtedness, such as those between citizens and states/corporations
•    Visual representations of alternative economies that exist or could exist

We also interested in creative submissions, such as a film screening and discussion, collaborations with Makerspace, or co-sponsored Author Meets Critic sessions.  

For any questions, please contact the Co-Chair of the Visual Cultural Working Group, Lisa Daily, at

Chair: Lisa Daily


Vice-Chair: Daniel Belgrad


The CSA Visual Culture Working Group represents the multi- and inter-disciplinary study of the visual as a primary site for the production and contestation of meaning. The Working Group is thus concerned with visual forms and visuality, including images, visual media, image technologies, surveillance, theories of spectatorship, visual experience, and visual literacy.

Join this working group