John Thomson in China

The British Look at the Chinese: The Anthropological  Gaze When John Thomson (1837-1921), a native of Scotland, arrived in China, Great Britain had just militarily and politically and diplomatically defeated this huge nation, going to war, not once but twice, over the...

Baron Stillfried in Japan

Japonisme and Photography The terms “Near East,” “Far East,” and “Middle East” are all Eurocentric terms because they situate the speaker in the West, assumed to be the geographically superior position, the site from which the...

Photographing Imperialism, Part Two

Samuel Borne: Kashmir and the Aesthetics of Conquest In her seminal book, British Rule in India: A Historical Sketch (1857), Harriet Martineau called India “our great Asiatic dependency” and described the Himalayas as “a steep slope” like...

Photographing Imperialism, Part One

Samuel Bourne in India: Empire in the Making The way in which the British backed into the idea of empire or imperialism in contrast to colonialism can be viewed by contrasting the contemporaneous reactions of the nation to America and India. The Americans were...

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