Article ID: CBB001201577

“Why Can't They Put Their Names?”: Colonial Photography, Repatriation and Social Memory (2014)


Bradley, John K. (Author)
Adgemis, Philip (Author)
Haralampou, Luka (Author)

History and Anthropology
Volume: 25
Pages: 47--71
Publication date: 2014
Language: English

This paper explores the relationships between a particular photographic archive, Indigenous Australians and early ethnography. Colonial ethnographers, Spencer and Gillen, travelled throughout Central and Northern Australia in 1901 and 1902. Their experiences in the town of Borroloola with the local Indigenous peoples, in particular the Yanyuwa people, are contrasted to their experiences in other regions that they travelled through. While at Borroloola, Spencer and Gillen photographed a number of Yanyuwa men and women. In 1981, the repatriation of those images back into the community facilitated discussion about the appropriate positioning of each individual in Yanyuwa systems of kinship, and debate around the ceremonial details recorded, informing new layers of social memory. Yanyuwa elders expressed joy at viewing, naming and positioning the long deceased kin but when the identity of the person could not be recalled, responses conveyed a deep sense of loss. This paper explores the response to one of these photographs and explores in detail the resonances that this one photograph holds for the Yanyuwa community.

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Authors & Contributors
Edwards, Elizabeth
Bennett, Tony
Cameron, Fiona Ruth
Dibley, Ben
Gray, Geoffrey
Harrison, Rodney
History and Anthropology
Historical Records of Australian Science
Journal of Historical Geography
Arizona Quarterly
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
WP Druck & Verlag
Yale University Press
Indigenous peoples; indigeneity
Cultural anthropology
Boas, Franz
Chinnery, Ernest William Pearson
Cook, James
Eylmann, Erhard
Skinner, Henry Devenish
Stirling, Edward Charles
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
18th century
United States
Berlin (Germany)
Soviet Union

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