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Images and EmpiresVisuality in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa$
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Paul Landau and Susan Griffin

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520229488

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520229488.001.0001

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Empires of the Visual: Photography and Colonial Administration in Africa

Empires of the Visual: Photography and Colonial Administration in Africa

Chapter:
(p.141) Chapter 5 Empires of the Visual: Photography and Colonial Administration in Africa
Source:
Images and Empires
Author(s):

Paul S. Landau

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520229488.003.0006

This chapter examines the role of photography in colonial administration in Africa. It explains that image was the medium for colonialism's representational encounter with Africans. It argues that the idea that Western photographs objectified colonized peoples in Africa is correct and that photographs, like perspectival paintings before them, can just as easily be said to have objectified observers. It contends that the traffic in images under colonial rule served the colonial project in Africa, alongside not only guns and steamships, but radio, newsreels, presses, and carbon paper.

Keywords:   photography, colonial administration, Africa, representational encounter, perspectival paintings, colonized people

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