Visual Colonization: Scenes, Objects, and Main Content of Postcards from German East Africa

Publication type Article
Status Published
Institute for African Studies
Russian State University for the Humanities
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameISTORIYA

The paper deals with colonial representation of German East Africa in postcards, issued for exposure of conquered territories to the empire’s metropolis population. To the lesser degree they present peoples of distant land, their culture and life, concentrating more on (controversial) “achievements” brought by colonizers, like military stations, churches and Christian missions, infrastructure, askari troops recruited from local population etc. On these postcards we can see various species of acacias and palm trees, numerous Araberstrasse and Kaiserstrasse, monuments to the emperor and chancellor, ships in the Dar es Salaam bay, “native beauty” and “native quarters”. On the one hand, postcards reflect what colonizers wanted to display in their homeland, on the other — what homeland wished to see: images of exotic hot tropics, success of German administrators and troops. Content, scenes, objects shown on the postcards are analyzed in the article as specific patterns of “visual colonization”.

KeywordsGerman East Africa, Tanganyika, colonial photography, colony representation
AcknowledgmentThe research project is supported by Russian Science Foundation, grant № 18-18-00454 “Historical Memory as a Factor of the Evolution of Social-Political Systems (Sub-Saharan Africa and Mesoamerica)”.
Publication date27.12.2021
Number of characters19147
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