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The “Tajin Totonac” In and Outside the Frame Representation and Alterity in the Photographic Archive of Isabel T. Kelly

Mónica Salas Landa, Lafayette College

March 1, 2022 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · Zoom

Program in Latin American Studies

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.

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.

This virtual event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration will be required. REGISTER HERE

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