Photography's production and exhibition were important mediums for self-representation, political expression, and economic survival for photographers in Mozambique and their audiences from 1950 to 1993. Furthermore, conversations on race in Mozambique happened in the experiential realm of the visual as state-implemented categories for defining race determined the audiences for specific pictures, the venues in which audiences viewed photographs, and the types of images published versus those relegated to state and personal archives. Few scholars have studied photography in Mozambique along with how questions of race persisted after Portuguese colonialism and shaped post-independence life. In turn, to address these absences, this dissertation looks at Mozambique's history of colonialism, liberation, and economic hardship through the camera's lens and the lives of Mozambican commercial and press photographers, whose careers reflect this history. A reconstruction and historicization of the production, circulation, and appropriation of photographs from the late-colonial period into the present day illuminates the ways in which visual technologies shaped popular perceptions of racial identification and the ways in which independence movements developed. Pictures read against collected oral histories offer a context to recreate the class formations, social activities, and image worlds fashioned by photography. This approach to photography as both the object of study and as methodological approach to historical studies highlights the ways in which popular and government discourses on race, issues silenced by ideologies of racial democracy, co-opted photography's technical and visual languages, and the ways in which photography sometimes contested and contradicted these discourses on race. Ultimately, this study raises new issues about how photography's practice and archiving gave rise to conditions of citizenship and nation and about the nature of artistic resistance movements in colonial and post-independent Mozambique.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2013. Major: History. Advisors: Allen Isaacman, Helena Pohlandt-McCormick. 1 computer file (PDF); 656 pages.
AIM, FOCUS, SHOOT: Photographic Narratives of War, Independence, and Imagination in Mozambique, 1950 to 1993.
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