Anthropological and ethnographic photography in Russian Turkestan [NEW PUBLICATION]

Charles-Eugène Ujfalvy, “Kirghise”, 1881, Bibliothèque nationale de France/Société de Géographie

I spent the better part of 2016 and 2017 at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, where I had the chance to benefit from a Mark-Pigott fellowship to study lesser known series of photographs taken in Central Asia and presented at the French Geographical Society by European travellers during the late 19th century.

Within this very extensive body of visual material taking the form of thousands of lantern slides which I explored under the supervision of the Geographical Society Archive‘s head keeper and photography specialist Olivier Loiseaux, I chose to focus on the work of the Hungarian-French philologist and ethnographer Charles-Eugene Ujfalvy (1842-1904).

I was eventually invited by Svetlana Gorshenina and Sergei Abashin to present the results of my research at a conference organised at the European University in Saint Petersburg (Russia) in May 2019. It proved a wonderful experience, and even lead to my participation to a book edited by Svetlana Gorshenina, Sergei Abashin, Bruno De Cordier and Tatiana Saburova. Titled Photographing Central Asia. From the Periphery of the Russian Empire to Global Presence, the book is a wonderful addition to existing works on visual anthropology in the 19th century and I couldn’t stress how honoured I felt to be invited to publish a chapter alongside Central Asian, Russian and European scholars whose work I had long been reading and admiring.

My chapter is titled : “Picturing the Other, mapping the Self: Charles-Eugène de Ujfalvy’s anthropological and ethnographic photography in Russian Turkestan (1876–1881)”. It combines my earlier research on the European ethnographic and linguistic exploration of Central Asia with a contextualised analysis of the aforementioned material. Drawing upon earlier work by the likes of Svetlana Gorshenina and Marie-Laure Aurenche, among others, it suggests that Ujfalvy’s visual representation of identities attempted to bridge the gap between various anthropological traditions with a nostalgic yet definitely pro-colonial awareness of the changing landscape of Central Asian societies under Russian rule.

The full book including that chapter (pp.39-62) can be downloaded for free here

Photographing Central Asia

Svetlana Gorshenina, Sergei Abashin, Bruno De Cordier and Tatiana Saburova eds., Photographing Central Asia. From the Periphery of the Russian Empire to Global Presence, Berlin : De Gruyter, 2022

Charles-Eugène Ujfalvy, “Intérieur Kirghis”, 1881, Bibliothèque nationale de France/Société de Géographie



Citer ce billet
Felix de Montety (2022, 7 octobre). Anthropological and ethnographic photography in Russian Turkestan [NEW PUBLICATION]. Linguistic Geographies // Géographies linguistiques. Consulté le 21 mai 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/matk

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