This presentation will look at the critical role ethnographic photographs played in actualizing the “indigenous other” imagined by midcentury Mexican anthropology and state-led developmentalism. Drawing on a series of snapshots taken by U.S. anthropologist Isabel Kelly, Mónica Salas Landa explores how the circulation and replication of visual records of the Totonac community of Tajín, in the lowlands of northern Veracruz, contributed to the establishment of a political regime of (in)visibility. A focus on snapshots—records of the ubiquitous and the banal across both intimate and public domains—allows Salas Landa to counteract the scientific overtones that ethnographic visual records have invoked, and to bring attention instead to the ways in which the camera, in the hands of midcentury anthropologists, fabricated the reality it seemed simply to record.
ABOUT OUR GUEST SPEAKER:
MÓNICA SALAS LANDA, is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Lafayette College. She is presently working on a manuscript titled In Visible Ruins: The Politics of Perception and the Legacies of Mexico’s Dead Revolution.
EDUARDO CADAVA, English, Princeton University
GABRIELA ZAMORANO, El Colegio de Michoacán
PAULA LÓPEZ CABALLERO, CEIICH-UNAM
TONY WOOD, PLAS Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University