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April 2018
248 pages  
58 b&w Illustrations
6 x 9
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Portraits in the Andes
Photography and Agency, 1900-1950
Coronado, Jorge
Coronado examines photography to further the argument that intellectuals grafted their own notions of indigeneity onto their subjects. He looks specifically at the Cuzco School of Photography (active in the southern Andes) through whose work Coronado argues for photography, in its capacity as a visual and technological practice, as a powerful tool for understanding and shaping what modernity meant in the region.
Jorge Coronado is associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Northwestern University. He is the author of The Andes Imagined: Indigenismo, Society, and Modernity. His teaching centers on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American literatures and cultures, with a focus on the Andes. He has lectured widely at universities in Latin America, Europe, and the United States and currently codirects the Andean Cultures and Histories working group at Northwestern.
“An extraordinary study of the practices, circulation and collection of photography among indigenous and mestizo subjects in the southern Andes, Portraits in the Andes breaks new ground in our understanding of visual regimes and their geopolitical inscription. Coronado’s detailed investigation into the material life of images in the highlands furthers an alternative genealogy of Andean modernity in the expanded field of visual culture with striking effects for our understanding of the limits of lettered culture and the underside of intellectual history.”—Julio Ramos, University of California, Berkeley

“The question that drives Portraits in the Andes is the relation between the lettered city and photography and the ways in which Latin America’s lettered tradition distorts our ability to see Andean photographs. Thus, while indigenismo served as an early filter of Andean photography, indigenous photography was staking out a terrain in many ways inaccessible to and perhaps even invisible to the lettered city.” —Silvia Spitta, Dartmouth College

Complete Description Reviews
Illuminations: Cultural Formations of the Americas Table of Contents
Latin America/Cultural Studies Read a selection from this book
Latin America/History

Portraits in the Andes examines indigenous and mestizo self-representation through the medium of photography from the early tomid twentieth century. As Jorge Coronado reveals, these images offer a powerful counterpoint to the often-slanted, predominant view of indigenismo produced by the intellectual elite.

Photography offered an inexpensive and readily available technology for producing portraits and other images that allowed lower- and middle-class racialized subjects to create their own distinct rhetoric and vision of their culture. The powerful identity-marking vehicle that photography provided to the masses has been overlooked in much of Latin American cultural studies—which have focused primarily on the elite and the state’s visual practices. Coronado’s study offers close readings of Andean photographic archives from the early- to mid-twentieth century, to show the development of a consumer culture and the agency of marginalized groups in creating a visual document of their personal interpretations of modernity.



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