Andrea Noble†

It was with great sadness and shock that we learned of the sudden passing on 10 May 2017 of our esteemed colleague and Partner Investigator Professor Andrea Noble. Andrea made an extraordinary contribution as a researcher, a teacher, a PhD supervisor, and an academic leader of the first order. Her energy, enthusiasm and zest for life have been an inspiration to many, and her loss will be felt keenly in the academic community and beyond.

Andrea Noble was a Latin Americanist and a CHE Partner Investigator based at The University of Durham. Her research interests were in the field of visual culture studies. Her work  engaged with a range of methodological approaches, including those derived from feminist and gender studies, cultural memory, history of the emotions, reception and spectatorship, semiotics, and visual anthropology. Amongst her publications are: Mexican National Cinema (Routledge 2005) and Photography and Memory in Mexico: Icons of Revolution (Manchester University Press, 2010). There are two strands to her recent research and writing projects:

The first was called 'Tears in Mexico: A Cultural History of Emotions and Motivations' and explored public acts of weeping in Mexico, ranging from 'la noche triste', when Hernán Cortés, fleeing from the Aztecs, is supposed to have sat down under an cypress tree and wept, through the extravagant tears that the northern rebel leader Pancho Villa shed at the height of the Mexican revolution beside the tomb of Francisco Madero in December 1914. By homing in on emblematic moments of weeping, the aim is to probe the 'feeling rules' in operation at given historical moments, raising questions related to power, gender, class, morality, etc. This project was funded by a Marie Curie Outgoing Fellowship (2013‒2016) based at the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
The second was a collaborative project called ‘Cold War Camera’. Its premise is that photography had and still has a key role in the cultural politics of the global conflict: through state surveillance operations; through deployment in resistance to state-sponsored terrorism; and by its role in processes of transitional justice and commemoration. Questions of visuality – of what can (and cannot) be seen, known, and felt, – stand at the centre of the cultural politics of the Cold War and its aftermath. This project was one of the outcomes of international ‘network grant’ funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (2012‒2014).