Next dossier to be published in CHDJ 2023, Vol. 12, No. 1


Science and Visual Colonialism. Scientific editors: Luis Calvo (Institució Milá i Fontanals-CSIC) and Miguel Ángel Puig-Samper (Instituto de Historia-CSIC).

Dossier Science and Visual Colonialism explores the colonial work undertaken by Instituto Bernardino Sahagún (CSIC) in the African colony of Equatorial Guinea, the peculiar case of Canarian aborigines and their representation in Europe, and two other case studies, that of the imaginary comparisons between Australian aborigines and prehistoric man, and the image of Gauchos as prototype of Argentinian mestizos.

There is little doubt that photography was a weapon of colonial domination, which often constructed a reality that had little to do with the real colonies. Cameras recorded what the operator sought to represent for little-objective reasons, and were later observed and interpreted by European eyes. In other instances, however, photographs were used to denounce abuses of colonial power in Africa, for example in Leopold II’s Congo. Years after decolonisation, we aim to better understand yesterday’s images to decodify today’s representations and approach colonial history from a different perspective. We argue that colonialism is at the base of contemporary racism and xenophobia, after the “other” was made part of hierarchies based on false scientistic biological interpretations of culture.

Ramón Albanell, D. Gabriel Rius y grupo de trabajadores de su finca, ca. 1915. Real Biblioteca de Palacio, Madrid. FOT/390. Número de inventario: 10183857. © PATRIMONIO NACIONAL