Colonial Photography and Exhibitions: Representations of the Native and the Making of European Identities
This book investigates the historical practice of producing stereotyped spectacles of colonized peoples at the great exhibitions and in colonial photography, and relates it to the shaping of European and settler identities. In doing so, it singles out the homogeneous aspects of colonialism's culture as well as distinguishing its discontinuities. By comparing the images produced in Britain and France with those produced in North America, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific, Japan, and China, it proposes that differences in representations of colonized peoples between the imperial centres and the colonies were the result of different social and political agendas. By focusing on the images connected to anthropology, dying race theory, travel, tourism, and portraiture, Maxwell argues that while some photographs were directed at naturalizing the precept of colonialism, others were used to criticize it and to empower indigenous subjects. Written from a postcolonial perspective, and pursuing an interdisciplinary approach, this book will be of interest to scholars, students, and researchers intent on knowing more about the images of racial and cultural difference that shaped our immediate past.