Fernandez, Juan: Travel Grant - 2017-2018

Graduate School
Project Title: 
Colonial Photography in Maritime Southeast Asia, 1850-1945
Project Abstract: 
This project focuses on the interconnected histories of photography in maritime Southeast Asia, starting from the introduction of photography in the colonial era—focusing primarily on the Spanish then American Philippines, the British Straits Settlements, and the Dutch East Indies—up to the moment of decolonization. Through these connections, I want to chart the ways in which photographic technologies and operators found easy transit between the colonial centers of the region, the overlapping (and at times repetitive) themes and tropes in these images, and the knowledges produced (and subsequently used) by colonial powers regarding their subjects. While scholarly interest in photography and its various administrative and anthropological uses has increased in the last ten years, its treatment in Southeast Asia has been remarkably bound to country-specific studies, paying scant attention to the important connections that transcended these colonial and post-colonial national borders.