Photography and National Memory: Senegal about 1960

Bajorek, Jennifer. 2010. Photography and National Memory: Senegal about 1960. History of Photography, 34(2), pp. 158-169. ISSN 0308-7298 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This essay explores key historical and theoretical concerns in the photographic history of Senegal. Drawing on interviews carried out during visits to Saint-Louis and Dakar (in 2007-2008), it documents the polyvalent practices of photographers working in Senegal in the mid-20th century, with a focus on the career and collections of El Hadj Adama Sylla, a photographer active in Saint-Louis from the 1950s and the former curator of the photographic collections of the Centre de Recherches et de Documentation du Sénégal (CRDS). Sylla was also a formidable private collector, and, in the first part of the essay, I examine the complex relationships between these official and personal collections, and I explore the broader consequences of polyvalent practice for the constitution of collections, definition of genres, and for our broader understanding of the role played by photography in the development of the political imagination of the postcolonial state. In the second part of the essay, I examine the extension of photography, in the period immediately following independence, into new domains of political imagination, and its role in the production of both 'official' and unofficial or non-state investments in the political iconography of the postcolonial state.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Centre for Cultural Studies (1998-2017)



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Date Deposited:

19 Oct 2010 10:31

Last Modified:

23 May 2016 15:59

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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