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Missionizing photography : Miss Amanda Jefferson's photograph album, 1892-1898


Missionizing photography : Miss Amanda Jefferson's photograph album, 1892-1898

Murray, Sharon (2007) Missionizing photography : Miss Amanda Jefferson's photograph album, 1892-1898. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Missionary history is a recent topic of scholarly interest although foreign mission photographs have not been afforded the same attention. The lack of scholarship on missionary photography as a category (although arguably a subset of colonial and ethnographic photographies) means that little can be said definitively about the role of photography in overseas missions. This thesis looks at a late-nineteenth century photograph album compiled by Miss Amanda Jefferson (1860-1947)--a Canadian missionary to Western India. Jefferson's album serves as a case study in unpacking the meaning of photographs generated by foreign missionaries. As her 1892 letter indicates, Jefferson intended to send the album home to her friends and Christian community in New York so they could see something of the mission field and her new surroundings. Through an analysis of Jefferson's selection, organization and captioning of the album's fifty-one photographs, this thesis examines the use of photography for this single woman missionary: how photography itself was missionized and used as a tool for visualizing the harsh realities and everyday experiences of mission work, the missionaries's goals and biases, and the contradictions and ambiguities of this kind of cultural imperialism. This thesis considers both the pubic and private functions of this album as well as Jefferson's desire for the album to speak for itself despite the cultural and physical distance that divided the viewers from Jefferson and the people and places pictured.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Murray, Sharon
Pagination:x, 164 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Thesis Supervisor(s):Langford, Martha
Identification Number:LE 3 C66A35M 2007 M87
ID Code:975783
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:14
Last Modified:13 Jul 2020 20:08
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