Session Submission Summary

Direct link:

Southeast Asian Elite Photographies in an Era of Colonial Anxiety

Fri, April 1, 10:30am to 12:30pm, Washington State Convention Center, Floor: 2nd Floor, Room 213

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel


By examining the adoption of photography in Southeast Asia’s early modern period, this panel will demonstrate how photography was understood, practiced, mobilised, and negotiated as a [cultural and political] communicative tool, not merely as a colonial technological transfer process. This panel also examines how individual photographs project meaning and agency both visually as well as materially, enabling us to interpret photographs as both ‘visual’ and ‘material’ objects.
Political tensions within Southeast Asia were especially heightened with the influx of European colonialism from the mid-1850s to the 1910s. As Britain expanded its colonial territories from India to Burma and the French expanded the Indochinese empire into the upper Mekhong region of Laos, Siam occupied the non-colonial space in between, balancing its own geopolitics with those of two global imperial powers. The region’s elites introduced many cultural and political strategies during this period in attempts to assuage their anxieties and stabilise the turbulent political landscape.
The papers of this panel focus on a cross-section of elite Southeast Asian photographies of crypto-colonised Siam, the Shan States under the British Protectorate, and Cambodia under the French Protectorate. This panel explores how Western photographic technologies were deployed as both political and cultural medium in elites’ efforts to re-balance their positions within the realms of regional and global geopolitics.

Area of Study

Session Organizer


Individual Presentations


©2019 All Academic, Inc.   |   Privacy Policy