Traces of the Unseen: Photography, Violence, and Modernization in Early Twentieth-Century Latin America (FlashPoints #43) (Hardcover)

Traces of the Unseen: Photography, Violence, and Modernization in Early Twentieth-Century Latin America (FlashPoints #43) By Carolina Sá Carvalho Cover Image

Traces of the Unseen: Photography, Violence, and Modernization in Early Twentieth-Century Latin America (FlashPoints #43) (Hardcover)

$120.00


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Winner of the 2024 Roberto Reis Book Award
Winner of the LASA Environment Section Best Book of 2023


A richly illustrated examination of photography as a technology for documenting, creating, and understanding the processes of modernization in turn-of-the-century Brazil and the Amazon

Photography at the turn of the twentieth century was not only a product of modernity but also an increasingly available medium to chronicle the processes of modernization. Traces of the Unseen: Photography, Violence, and Modernization in Early Twentieth-Century Latin America situates photography’s role in documenting the destruction wrought by infrastructure development and extractive capitalist expansion in the Amazon and outside the Brazilian metropole. Combining formal analysis of individual photographs with their inclusion in larger multimedia assemblages, Carolina Sá Carvalho explores how this visual evidence of violence was framed, captioned, cropped, and circulated. As she explains, this photographic creation and circulation generated a pedagogy of the gaze with which increasingly connected urban audiences were taught what and how to see: viewers learned to interpret the traces of violence captured in these images within the larger context of modernization.

Traces of the Unseen draws on works by Flavio de Barros, Euclides da Cunha, Roger Casement, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Mario de Andrade to situate an unruly photographic body at the center of modernity, in all its disputed meanings. Moreover, Sá Carvalho locates historically specific practices of seeing within the geopolitical peripheries of capitalism. What emerges is a consideration of photography as a technology through which modern aspirations, moral inclinations, imagined futures, and lost pasts were represented, critiqued, and mourned.
CAROLINA SÁ CARVALHO is an assistant professor of Hispanic and Lusophone literatures at the University of Toronto.
Product Details ISBN: 9780810145429
ISBN-10: 0810145421
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication Date: February 15th, 2023
Pages: 328
Language: English
Series: FlashPoints
Traces of the Unseen is an innovative study on the role of photography in revealing the violent underside of modernization in Brazil. Through a careful analysis of visual records about key events in the country’s history—the Canudos massacre, the Amazonian rubber boom and its aftermath—the author shows how photographers including Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roger Casement, and Mário de Andrade drew attention to forgotten communities, victims of Brazil’s stride toward progress. A must-read for those interested in the iconography of Brazilian modernity.” —Patrícia Vieira, author of States of Grace: Utopia in Brazilian Culture