Travelling Miniatures: Kerry and Co’s Postcards of the Pacific, 1893-1917

Peduzzi, Nicole (2011) Travelling Miniatures: Kerry and Co’s Postcards of the Pacific, 1893-1917. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis examines postcards of Pacific peoples that were produced in Sydney by the photographic firm Kerry & Co. during the first decade of the twentieth century. Like other visual images and technologies of that period, postcards have played an important role in shaping contemporary understandings of indigenous peoples, and, despite created for commercial purposes, they also relate to the production of anthropological knowledge at the turn of the century. This study is divided into three parts. The first part is devoted to the socio-cultural and historical contexts in which the Kerry & Co. postcards are embedded. Particular attention will be given to the company‟s postcard sample book around which the discussion of the Kerry postcards body will revolve. The second part, focusing on the three Aboriginal series, is characterised by a microhistorical approach to a photographic encounter on Wailwan land, and by the consideration of „contact zones‟ for the understanding of the social dynamics in front of Kerry‟s camera. The focus of both chapters is on the excavation of the origins and identities of the nameless Aboriginal „postcard people‟, and on the identification of their agency during the shared moment of the postcard imagery‟s production. The third part of the thesis focuses on the Samoan series which, for the „recycled‟ nature of its twelve motifs, assumes an even more „exotic‟ role within Kerry‟s body of indigenous people. The headdress tuiga becomes a cultural marker for Samoa in Kerry‟s stereotyping apparatus, and the whole series can be considered as born as a metaphor – their motifs being stripped of personal meanings already before entering Kerry‟s factory. I argue that, focusing on postcards as material objects in their own right, discloses many aspects of the dynamic relationships between societies, and reveals how active they are in creating meanings about cultures.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art History and World Art Studies (former - to 2014)
Depositing User: Stacey Armes
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2015 10:40
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2015 10:40


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