Africa

Incommensurability and Untranslatability

The move to diversify art historical narratives is often accompanied by a search for commonalities. Instead addressing a need to acknowledge radical difference and untranslatability, each presenter in this panel approached the question of the incommensurable, interrogating tensions between a global approach and site-specific study.

Subjects and Subjugation: Swahili Coast Studio Photography in Global Circulation

By the 1850s, commercial photography studios could be found all across the globe, with people in disparate locations holding similar standing poses in front of standardized backdrops. The essay addresses different manifestations of early photography in eastern Africa, including how to critically approach the subjects pictured in colonial photographs created for international consumption.