07-Anderson Marked Bodies REVISED FINAL.pdf (285.97 kB)
Empire, boundaries, and bodies : colonial tattooing practices
chapterposted on 2014-03-19, 16:43 authored by Clare Anderson
In recent years the body has become a fashionable mode of enquiry into the nature of colonial societies. Historians have used a Foucauldian or Saidian framework to focus on the relationship between power and the body (notably within colonial institutions, but also those embodied in cultural practices), and/or on representations of the body (for instance in ethnographies of colonial difference). As Abby Schrader puts it, ‘the body itself constitutes a central text of cultural history’. India and Africa in particular have proved fertile ground for explorations of the colonial body, for it was peculiarly central to colonial understandings of societies in which the organizing principles of caste and tribe – with their seemingly incomprehensible array of ritual practices and taboos – seemed so important. In examining colonial tattooing practices and their representations, this chapter draws upon this empirically and theoretically pertinent set of historiography. It presupposes the surface of the skin – and its apparently permanent and always potentially visible inscriptions – as an important element of the embodied practices and representations that historians and anthropologists have described.
CitationAnderson, C, Empire, boundaries, and bodies : colonial tattooing practices, ed. Sappol, M, 'A cultural history of the human body in the age of empire', Berg, 2010, pp. 171-190
Author affiliation/Organisation/COLLEGE OF ARTS, HUMANITIES AND LAW/School of History
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