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Modesty and modernity: photography, race, and representation on Mexico’s Costa Chica (Guerrero)

Modesty and modernity: photography, race, and representation on Mexico’s Costa Chica (Guerrero)
Modesty and modernity: photography, race, and representation on Mexico’s Costa Chica (Guerrero)
This article uses ethnographic techniques to examine photographic practices in and around San Nicolás Tolentino, Guerrero, a rural community in a historically black region of Mexico. At its core is a juxtaposed intepretation of a book of photographs entitled Tierra Negra (Black Earth), taken by a Mexican photographer in the early 1990s, and local people’s “home” photos, mostly portraits of family members displayed on the walls of sitting rooms. In 2001, I brought Tierra Negra to San Nicolás in order to elicit local people’s responses to the photographs, which turn out to be mostly of them. Through their comments on these photos, as well as discourses around their home photos, I elaborate on identity issues and local people’s formulations of progress and modernity. I situate my analysis in the historical and anthropological scholarship on race and photographic representation as I draw conclusions about the distinct yet overlapping meanings that “outsiders” and “insiders” give to blackness and the values that such blackness holds as commodity, as historical memory and as one of the roots of Mexican national identity.
race, gender, photography, blackness, mexico
1070-289X
471-499
Lewis, Laura A.
3b8fef98-e0ff-4acf-879f-ed9b1c318890
Lewis, Laura A.
3b8fef98-e0ff-4acf-879f-ed9b1c318890

Lewis, Laura A. (2004) Modesty and modernity: photography, race, and representation on Mexico’s Costa Chica (Guerrero). Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 11 (4), 471-499. (doi:10.1080/10702890490883830).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article uses ethnographic techniques to examine photographic practices in and around San Nicolás Tolentino, Guerrero, a rural community in a historically black region of Mexico. At its core is a juxtaposed intepretation of a book of photographs entitled Tierra Negra (Black Earth), taken by a Mexican photographer in the early 1990s, and local people’s “home” photos, mostly portraits of family members displayed on the walls of sitting rooms. In 2001, I brought Tierra Negra to San Nicolás in order to elicit local people’s responses to the photographs, which turn out to be mostly of them. Through their comments on these photos, as well as discourses around their home photos, I elaborate on identity issues and local people’s formulations of progress and modernity. I situate my analysis in the historical and anthropological scholarship on race and photographic representation as I draw conclusions about the distinct yet overlapping meanings that “outsiders” and “insiders” give to blackness and the values that such blackness holds as commodity, as historical memory and as one of the roots of Mexican national identity.

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More information

Published date: 2004
Keywords: race, gender, photography, blackness, mexico
Organisations: Modern Languages

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 346214
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/346214
ISSN: 1070-289X
PURE UUID: bb2a7fa6-29c8-4410-9d8f-02735f4607bf
ORCID for Laura A. Lewis: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2782-7254

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Dec 2012 15:37
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 00:39

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Author: Laura A. Lewis ORCID iD

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