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Past, Present and Future: Photographic Presence in New Mexico

Romanek, Devorah; (2019) Past, Present and Future: Photographic Presence in New Mexico. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the relationship between historical ethnographic photographs of Native Americans, their disposition in archives and collections, and the relationship of those images to their contemporary circulation and use by Native American artists, and others, particularly in New Mexico. Having undertaken original research into mid-19th century photographs in archives internationally, pertaining to Native America in the American Southwest, new histories and a reframing of the photographs in question has been assembled. This portion of the research was undertaken both as a starting point for further investigation, and as a return to the people of New Mexico, particularly the Indigenous inhabitants of that place. In light of the newly assembled history and reframing of various historical photographs within the photography complex/network, and in acknowledging the limitations of 20th century photographic theories, a variety of anthropological and visual culture theoretical frameworks, which value notions of ‘presence’ and ‘significance’ are given weight over previous ideas of ‘meaning’, ‘epistemology’ and ‘provenance’. This thesis explores the role of memory, notions of essentialism, and practices of racism, as they are strategically and aesthetically employed through the medium of the photographic image. The contemporary re-presentation of 19th century photographs by Indigenous artists is also examined, with an eye towards observing the manner in which, by reclaiming the past, Native Americans may go forward into the future in unimaginable and sovereign ways. The research centres on addressing the question: what is the role of the photographic image in the ongoing discourse about Native American identity?

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Past, Present and Future: Photographic Presence in New Mexico
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10083541
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