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Signs of indigenous agency in nineteenth-century Argentine anthropological photography

Ashley Kerr

Contenido disponible también en español

Thus far, scholars have studied nineteenth-century Argentine anthropological photography as part of the State’s colonial projects. In this context, the relationship between the white photographer (and viewer) and the photographed indigenous men and women was that of knowing subject and photographed object, respectively. In this relationship, the photographer represented the modern nation while the depicted indigenous subject was both out of place and anachronistic. This critical focus has been very productive, but in general it has led us to understand the interactions between Argentine indigenous communities and the camera as a homogenous experience, where each man and woman suffered exactly the same conditions of victimization. However, if we pay attention to the other social elements imprinted on the anthropological images of the last decades of the nineteenth century, it becomes clear that Argentine indigenous peoples had a variety of encounters with science. All suffered the racial violence of the scientific-colonial project, but some were able to use their social position and/or their gender to somewhat mitigate its effects.…

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