The Portrait and the Colonial Imaginary

Photography between France and Africa, 1900-1939

Simon Dell

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Monograph - paperback


Unique study of portraiture in the colonial imaginary

French colonisers of the Third Republic claimed not to oppress but to liberate, imagining they were spreading republican ideals to the colonies to make a Greater France. In this book Simon Dell explores the various roles played by portraiture in this colonial imaginary.

Anyone interested in the history of colonial Africa will have encountered innumerable portraits of African elites produced during the first half of the twentieth century, yet no book to date has focused on these ubiquitous images. Dell analyses the production and dissemination of such portraits and situates them in a complex and conflicted field of representations.

Moving between European and African perspectives, The Colonial Imaginary blends history with art history to provide insights into the larger processes that were transforming the French metropole and colonies during the early twentieth century.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Format: Monograph - paperback

Size: 230 × 170 mm

250 pages

ISBN: 9789462702158

Publication: March 30, 2020

Simon Dell teaches in the Department of Art History and World Art Studies at the University of East Anglia.