Historians often use photographs to enliven a text or as evidence to document a discrete historical event, but they rarely consider the significance of photography as social practice. Kevin Coleman's innovative and timely study integrates a critical analysis of the social uses of photography and photographs with the tumultuous political history of twentieth-century Honduras. Coleman is not interested in the history of photography per se but rather in how a range of photographic genres can be understood as social practices of “self-forging.” Departing from the emphasis that scholars such as Ariella Azoulay and Jacques Rancière have placed on the social power of images and the ethics of viewing, Coleman focuses on the subjects of photography and their ability to use the technology to make themselves visible, political subjects and contest imperial discourses and images of “banana republics.”

The subjects of greatest interest...

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