Afterimage of Empire: Photography in Nineteenth-Century India by Zahid R. ChaudharyAfterimage of Empire: Photography in Nineteenth-Century India by Zahid R. Chaudhary

Afterimage of Empire: Photography in Nineteenth-Century India

byZahid R. Chaudhary

Paperback | January 19, 2012

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Afterimage of Empire provides a philosophical and historical account of early photography in India that focuses on how aesthetic experiments in colonial photography changed the nature of perception. Considering photographs from the Sepoy Revolt of 1857 along with landscape, portraiture, and famine photography, Zahid R. Chaudhary explores larger issues of truth, memory, and embodiment.

Chaudhary scrutinizes the colonial context to understand the production of sense itself, proposing a new theory of interpreting the historical difference of aesthetic forms. In rereading colonial photographic images, he shows how the histories of colonialism became aesthetically, mimetically, and perceptually generative. He suggests that photography arrived in India not only as a technology of the colonial state but also as an instrument that eventually extended and transformed sight for photographers and the body politic, both British and Indian.

Ultimately, Afterimage of Empire uncovers what the colonial history of the medium of photography can teach us about the making of the modern perceptual apparatus, the transformation of aesthetic experience, and the linkages between perception and meaning.

Zahid R. Chaudhary is assistant professor of English at Princeton University.
Title:Afterimage of Empire: Photography in Nineteenth-Century IndiaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 10 × 7 × 0.8 inPublished:January 19, 2012Publisher:University Of Minnesota PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0816677492

ISBN - 13:9780816677498

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Sensation and Photography

1. Death and the Rhetoric of Photography: X Marks the Spot

2. Anaesthesis and Violence: A Colonial History of Shock

3. Armor and Aesthesis: The Picturesque in Difference

4. Famine and the Reproduction of Affect: Pleas for Sympathy

Coda: Sensing the Past

Translation of Proclamation Attributed to Nana Sahib
Transcription and Translation of Farsi Inscriptions

Editorial Reviews

"Afterimage of Empire is an astute analysis of photographic material, from the early days of the medium. It is impressive in its ability to move with care through the different scales of analysis—from the minutiae of scattered skulls in the foreground of one photograph to the question of whether a technology transforms both aesthetic form and the viewing subject." —Ranjana Khanna, Duke University