Photography at the heart of darkness: Herbert Lang’s Congo photographs (1909-15)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The perfect body in Western culture has been sustained and made imaginable by the imperfect body of the racial Other. For two hundred years, Western scientists, writers and artists have attempted to create a visual taxonomy of race without long-term success. The locus of investigation has changed from the skull and skin to the gene but the mission remains the same. In fact, the recent publication of the scurrilous book, The Bell Curve by Charles Murray and Richard J. Herrnstein, even resurrected the old canard of a genetic connection between race and intelligence. Yet, as Henry Louis Gates forcefully reminds us, [r]ace as a meaningful criterion within the biological sciences has long been recognized to be a fiction. When we speak of ‘the white race’ or ‘the black race,' or ‘the Jewish race’ or the ‘Aryan race,' we speak in biological misnomers and, more generally, in metaphors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationColonialism and the Object
Subtitle of host publicationEmpire, Material Culture and the Museum
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages167-187
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781135106805
ISBN (Print)0415157765, 9780415157766
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

Fingerprint

photography
taxonomy
artist
Congo
Heart of Darkness
Photography
metaphor
intelligence
writer
science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

Mirzoeff, N. (2012). Photography at the heart of darkness: Herbert Lang’s Congo photographs (1909-15). In Colonialism and the Object: Empire, Material Culture and the Museum (pp. 167-187). Taylor and Francis. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203350683-21

Photography at the heart of darkness : Herbert Lang’s Congo photographs (1909-15). / Mirzoeff, Nicholas.

Colonialism and the Object: Empire, Material Culture and the Museum. Taylor and Francis, 2012. p. 167-187.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Mirzoeff, N 2012, Photography at the heart of darkness: Herbert Lang’s Congo photographs (1909-15). in Colonialism and the Object: Empire, Material Culture and the Museum. Taylor and Francis, pp. 167-187. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203350683-21
Mirzoeff N. Photography at the heart of darkness: Herbert Lang’s Congo photographs (1909-15). In Colonialism and the Object: Empire, Material Culture and the Museum. Taylor and Francis. 2012. p. 167-187 https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203350683-21
Mirzoeff, Nicholas. / Photography at the heart of darkness : Herbert Lang’s Congo photographs (1909-15). Colonialism and the Object: Empire, Material Culture and the Museum. Taylor and Francis, 2012. pp. 167-187
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