Governing difference
Unity in diversity at royal celebrations
in Photographic subjects
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This chapter analyses photographs of Wilhelmina’s subjects participating in koninginnedag festivals from both the East Indies and the Netherlands. Photographs of games and competitions, traditional dances adapted to new purposes and the distinctive costumes of folk and ethnic ‘types’ at royal celebrations appeared frequently in the photographs of European elites throughout the Dutch colonial world. The chapter explains the intellectual movements in ethnography and ‘folk studies’ that underpinned this photographic convergence in Wilhelmina’s lifetime, and the political role ascribed to the monarch as a benevolent unifying force that transcended geographical distance and racial difference. This chapter also attends to representations of the monarch’s body – that of a European, female king – to explain how photography mediated Wilhelmina’s and Juliana’s relationships to their subjects. In having themselves photographed wearing folk costumes, Dutch royals bodily identified with and mirrored the diversity they were expected to recognise in their Dutch subjects. By contrast, the queen never physically embodied the ethnic and religious diversity of her colonial subjects.

Photographic subjects

Monarchy and visual culture in colonial Indonesia

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