Archive for the ‘colonialism’ Category

Of the postcards from my collection, I’ve chosen a few to intermarry variously. There are four characters: a Sudanese ‘Dervish,’ an Egyptian ‘Fellahi,’ a second Sudanese ‘Dervish,’ and a more generally identified ‘Arab.’

The postcards are all from the 1910’s and could safely be called colonial. Colonial photographers, while choosing beautiful faces to look upon, would categorize each — often incorrectly and presumptuously — by race, tribe, nation, and publish their finds as postcards for collectors and armchair anthropologists.

Heretofore unpublished friendships defy the colonial gaze:  they are eager, attentive, long-awaited to my eyes.



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The after/before picture of a bedouin woman’s chin is plucked from a website offering the services of tattoo removal, hair removal, cellulite removal, botox and microdermabrasion treatments, wrinkle fillers, and chemical peels.

FAQ: Is it possible to to remove all traces of class, race, ethnicity, nation, the scars of war, and heartbreak — using laser surgery?


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femme-arabe-tunisie-recto-web3.jpg femme-arabe-eye2.jpg femme-arabe-tunisie-verso-web3.jpg

A selection from my postcard library.  

I happen to know that the covering worn by this woman is lined;  ruled, I mean. Many a scribe donned such a thing for the ease of writing inside their frocks undisturbed. She, in fact, is a very well known but little recognized woman of letters.  

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Excerpt from page 133: 

Eyes. – While nineteen individuals had dark brown eyes, one individual had black, one green-brown, and two gray-brown eyes. The sclera were bloodshot (14), yellow (3), clear (3), or yellow and bloodshot (2). The iris was homogenous in Nos. 4464 and 4472, rayed in No. 4471, and zoned in Nos. 4464 and 4473. Seven men (Nos. 4456, 4458, 4464, 4474, 4481, 4482, and 4484) had blue-ringed irises, possibly arcus senilis. No. 4467 had a dark rim around his iris, and Nos. 4477 and 4480 had Negroid eyes.

The Anthropology of Iraq
Field Museum of Natural History
Volume 30, Part 1, Number 1
Published in 1940, United States of America

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