cover of book

Can the Subaltern See?: Photographs as History, Volume 84
by Fernando Coronil
Duke University Press
Paper: 978-0-8223-6572-3

In the words of guest editor Fernando Coronil, this special issue of the Hispanic American Historical Review on photography contributes “an expanding discussion across disciplinary boundaries of the role of visuality in social life.” Helping to overcome the split between image and word in Western theory, the essays pinpoint the need to recognize the “play of all senses in the construction of reality.” Turning photos and collections of photos into historical documents, the four authors read images as texts to be analyzed in the context of their production and circulation.

Each essay looks at the role of a particular photographic genre in the making of modern Latin American identities. Articles cover the adaptation in late-nineteenth-century Oaxaca of European type photography as a tool of imperialist enterprise and science, state consolidation, and consumer culture; the use of portrait photography by the K’iche Mayans of Quetzaltenango; and the family album—made up of snapshots, postcards, and other memorabilia—as a historical document.

Contributors. Greg Grandin, Daniel James, Mirta Zaida Lobato, Deborah Poole

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