Kevin P. Coleman F'11
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2011
Indiana University, Bloomington
A Camera in the Garden of Eden: Fabricating the Banana Republic
This is a cultural history of photography and political culture in a Central American banana-company town. Based on extensive research in traditional archives and neglected visual archives in Honduras and the United States, this study examines how campesinos (peasants), workers, and women used photography to expose injustice and to posit more equitable social relations. Photographs—from studio portraits of local merchants to images of campesinos killed in the struggle for agrarian reform—invite us to explore the creation of a new civil space, that of a transnational citizenry of photography. This study offers new arguments about the contested nature of images and visibility in a transnational site, processes of identity construction, and popular configurations of citizenship.