Embodying the colonial memory. White colonists and “implicated subjects” in photographs from Equatorial Guinea





Photography, Equatorial Guinea, Colonial memory, Whiteness, Implicated subjects, Reparation


Except for explicitly colonial approaches, academic research on the visual culture of former colonies tends to adopt an allegedly critical perspective towards colonial history, as a way to participate in the construction of a conscious memory that helps to transform contemporary relationships. However, for a while, the hypervisibility of colonised peoples has been compared to the lack of visibility of white colonisers in academic studies. In line with theories of cultural memory, this study examines images as critical cultural artefacts to argue that racial deidentification in images of colonial Equatorial Guinea takes the focus away from the current society of the former metropolis, and thus from its memory and its colonial responsibility. I present a theoretical approach to photographs of white people ranging from the early 20th century to family images during the final years of colonial domination (1959-1968). These chiefly depict everyday scenes whose protagonists are apparently oblivious to the colonial context, and in which nothing seems to happen, in the same way, that their descendants, understood collectively, are enabled to ignore the colonial past and its continuities.


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How to Cite

Plasencia Camps, I. (2023). Embodying the colonial memory. White colonists and “implicated subjects” in photographs from Equatorial Guinea. Culture &Amp; History Digital Journal, 12(1), e004. https://doi.org/10.3989/chdj.2023.004




Funding data

Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación
Grant numbers PID2020-112730GB-I00

Agencia Estatal de Investigación
Grant numbers PID2020-112730GB-I00