Interpreters of Nineteenth Century Viewed by Anthropologists

Christina Lachat Leal


Along the history the interpreters were discreet witnesses of important historical events. We discovered that the visual analysis of photographs is an extremely useful instrument for research in interpretation which enables us to discover how the interpreter was perceived. In our research on the history of interpretation in pictures, we created a database with nearly 350 photographs of interpreters since 1846 until 1939 available in digital collections. We must acknowledge that the higher number of photographs has us a little surprised, and after a first analysis we discovered that photographers who realised most portraits worked for anthropological institutions or were themselves anthropologists. Our aim is to carry out a visual analysis of these portraits to discover, if the concept of the Other of the anthropologists of this period changes in liaison with the interpreters. Also we analyze eleven portraits of four interpreters by re-contextualising them. The results suggest that the interpreters are seen like specimens. The anthropologists do not see the interpreters; they perceive only the Other savage.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n9p284

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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