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UAL Research Online

Raw Histories: Photographs, Anthropology and Museums

Edwards, Elizabeth (2001) Raw Histories: Photographs, Anthropology and Museums. Berg, Oxford. ISBN 1859734979

Type of Research: Book
Creators: Edwards, Elizabeth

Raw Histories is concerned with historical photographs in anthropology. Rather than seeing them merely as ideologically formulated products of colonial gaze and appropriative desire, it explores photographs as cultural objects which inscribe multiple and contested histories in cross-cultural environments, including those of complex and unstable colonial relations. The book argues throughout that photographs are not merely ‘of things’ but are part of this dynamic and fluid historical dialogue. Such a strategy allows alternative historical voices, counter-narratives and strategies to emerge. Taking the nature of photography itself as the starting point, the book was the first to employ the concepts of ‘social life’, ‘biography’, ‘material culture’ and ‘performance’ to historical cross-cultural photographs. Such an approach facilitates a clearer understanding of both the multi-layered and intersecting demands placed on photographs over space and time. The title of the book reflects these fluidities: photographs are ‘raw’, it is argued, in that they have an uncontainability, resistance and unknowability, and ‘raw’ because the histories brought into focus by such an approach are sometimes uncomfortable, painful and rub against the grain.

Divided into three sections ‘Notes from the Archive’, ‘Historical Inscriptions’ and ‘Reworkings’, these key theoretical strands are explored through a series of case studies, based on detailed and original archival and institutional research. They range from the making of ‘the archive’ as a cultural object, through re-workings of colonial images from the Pacific, to the way the dynamics of the photographs and the issues around them have been engaged with by contemporary artists and curators.

Official Website: http://www.bergpublishers.com/?tabid=1829
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Berg
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Date: May 2001
Related Websites: http://www.fashion.arts.ac.uk/31499.htm
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Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2009 21:51
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2013 12:56
Item ID: 1722
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1722

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