Cover image for Projecting Citizenship: Photography and Belonging in the British Empire By Gabrielle Moser

Projecting Citizenship

Photography and Belonging in the British Empire

Gabrielle Moser

COMING IN DECEMBER

$89.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-08127-4
Coming in December

224 pages
7" × 10"
64 b&w illustrations
2018

Projecting Citizenship

Photography and Belonging in the British Empire

Gabrielle Moser

Projecting Citizenship contributes new thought and visual material to the field in a theoretically savvy manner and in dialogue with a number of theorists of photography and colonial projects. Moser lays out how colonial photography worked with other material to form a pedagogical mission to define “imperial citizens.” This is a must-read not only for those interested in colonialism’s use of photography in defining colonial subjects but also for those readers of photography and European imperialism who understand the intersubjective process as one fraught with anxieties, dangers, and promises but also containing the underpinnings of colonialism’s eventual unmaking.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Subjects
In Projecting Citizenship, Gabrielle Moser gives a comprehensive account of the Colonial Office Visual Instruction Committee’s lantern slide lectures, an unusual project produced by the British government at the beginning of the twentieth century that combined geography education and photography to teach schoolchildren around the world what it meant to look and to feel like an imperial citizen.

Through detailed archival research and close readings, Moser elucidates the impact of this vast collection of photographs documenting the land and peoples of the British Empire, circulated between 1902 and 1945 in classrooms from Canada to Hong Kong, the West Indies to Australia. Moser argues that these photographs played a central role in the invention and representation of imperial citizenship. She shows how citizenship became a photographable and teachable subject by tracing the intended readings of the images that the committee hoped to impart to viewers and analyzing how spectators may have used their encounters with these photographs for civic engagement. Focusing on the ways the Visual Instruction Committee pictured citizenship within an everyday context, this book decenters the preoccupation with trauma, violence, atrocity, and conflict that characterizes much of the theoretical literature on visual citizenship and demonstrates that the relationship between photography and citizenship emerged not in the dismantling of modern colonialism but through its consolidation.

Interweaving political and economic history, history of pedagogy, and theories of citizenship with a consideration of the aesthetic and affective dimensions of viewing the lectures, Projecting Citizenship offers important insights into the social inequalities and visual language of colonial rule.

Projecting Citizenship contributes new thought and visual material to the field in a theoretically savvy manner and in dialogue with a number of theorists of photography and colonial projects. Moser lays out how colonial photography worked with other material to form a pedagogical mission to define “imperial citizens.” This is a must-read not only for those interested in colonialism’s use of photography in defining colonial subjects but also for those readers of photography and European imperialism who understand the intersubjective process as one fraught with anxieties, dangers, and promises but also containing the underpinnings of colonialism’s eventual unmaking.”
“Brilliantly elucidates the inner photographic workings of the fraught historical and cultural processes that are at work whenever we see, or think we see, images of citizens. Moser’s book adds important historical nuance to the burgeoning literature on photography and citizenship, demonstrating that the scenes of precarious spectatorship that came to structure concepts and practices of citizenship across the British Empire were often first produced by photography. The book also makes bold new theoretical claims. Its explorations of the disobedient gazes, experiences of photographic latency, and paradoxical desires that we continue to inherit from colonial visuality promise to enrich ongoing debates.”

Gabrielle Moser is Assistant Professor of Art History at OCAD University.

Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list and be notified about new titles, journals and catalogs.