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Type: Journal article
Title: Reflections on a complex (and cosmopolitan) archive: postcards and photography in early colonial Uganda, c.1904–1928
Author: Vokes, R.
Citation: History and Anthropology, 2010; 21(4):375-409
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 0275-7206
Statement of
Richard Vokes
Abstract: This article examines a collection of picture postcards that were published in Uganda between c. 1904 and 1928. Drawing upon recent developments in the anthropology of photography, the article attempts to reconstruct the extended “social archive” of this collection, by exploring the range of relationships through which these image‐objects were produced, and through which they have been subsequently circulated and consumed. The approach reveals something of a “concealed” archive of meaning within this collection, one which is indicative both of wider cosmopolitan imaginaries that were at play in the British Empire during this period, and of the official view of the new Uganda colony as an inclusive, even collaborative, social project. A focus on the social agency of the postcards themselves then reveals how these meanings became later “overwritten”, to produce a more recognizable semiotics of colonial representation and power.
Keywords: Anthropology; Photography; Postcards; Colonialism; Uganda
Rights: © 2010 Taylor & Francis
RMID: 0030010457
DOI: 10.1080/02757206.2010.520888
Appears in Collections:Anthropology & Development Studies publications

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