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Africana Studies Program and Dean of the College present

Photography, Color Lines, and Urban Resistance in Colonial Mozambique

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Candidate for African History Tenure-Track Position

Drew Thompson
Gaius Bolin Fellow in History and Art, Williams College

While parts of Africa by 1960 celebrated independence from Europe, Mozambique was on the cusp of war. Air raids and troop incursions would become a reality for populations living in Northern Mozambique, the official site of war between Portugal and the liberation group FRELIMO. But, it was from behind and in front of cameras’ lenses in commercial studios and newsrooms that less visible resistance movements of equal significance took shape within Mozambique’s urban centers. Portugal relied on the production and circulation of photographs to promote an image of racial inclusivity and equality; tenets that became critical to its defense of its colonial holdings. As the local economy of photography expanded from 1960 until Mozambique’s independence in 1975, the practice, profession, and act of viewing images were all essential parts of populations’ colonial experiences and the ways they have since remembered the past. This presentation uses life histories, images, and music to reconstruct the visual worlds within which populations experienced Portuguese colonialism from 1960 to 1975. The politics of image making over this period offer a context to explore how populations, through the act of seeing, challenged and reconfigured the color lines enforced by Portuguese laws.

Time: 4:45 pm

Location: Olin 102