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Punch and the Armenian massacres of 1894–1896

‘Outrage and imperialism’ explores the response of Punch to the Armenian massacres of 1894–1896. The high moral position taken against the Ottomans – and the advocacy of British and pan-European intervention to defend the Armenians – is evident in the work of Sir John Tenniel and his junior cartoonist Linley Sambourne. Characterisations of the Sultan or a generic Turkish figure were complemented by depictions of a despicable hyena. A more darkly humorous take on the situation was offered by E. T. Reed. In observing Punch’s reactions, questions are prompted about the ways in which the west has absorbed and reformulated eastern issues for its own purposes. Punch and its readers responded with a mixture of indignation, confusion, anger, and equivocality. In a culture dominated by Orientalist fictions and tropes, Britons’ understanding of the nature of Muslim–Christian relations in the Ottoman Empire was opaque at best. And criticism of Ottoman imperialism was never permitted to interfere with attitudes towards its British counterpoint.

in Comic empires

This chapter examines the way the cartoonists of Punch engaged with the unfolding crisis in Cyprus in a period of immense change – both for the British Empire, post-Suez, and for the magazine itself (the innovative Malcolm Muggeridge resigning as editor and handing over to the more moderate Bernard Hollowood in 1957). By focusing on six Punch cartoons that dealt with aspects of the Cyprus ‘emergency’, the authors show that although Punch had not lost its sense of humour, it had reduced in its acerbic and radical capacity for critical thinking. It also shows how individual cartoon comment – by Michael Cummings, Norman Mansbridge, and Ronald Searle, as well as Mervyn Wilson – could confound the editorial line of the magazine, and level criticism at the Conservative governments of Eden and Macmillan, as well as critiquing the Cypriot side.

in Comic empires
The iconography of Anglo-American inter-imperialism

This chapter argues that American graphic artists refigured the visual language of Anglo-American relations into a versatile and adaptable imagery for understanding the United States’ place in world affairs, and its newfound status as an empire among empires. This imagery of Anglo-American imperial reciprocity competed with the better-known, and versatile visual culture of American Anglophobia in the late nineteenth century. Anglophobia provided a flexible framework into which American politicians and commentators could position complex political problems, ignite electoral passions, and rally support for foreign policy objectives. As the growth of the US economy accelerated in the Gilded Age, John Bull and Uncle Sam appeared frequently as industrial and commercial competitors. In the imagery of economic nationalism, John Bull was imagined as being crowded out of world markets; defeated by a wealthy and assertive Uncle Sam, in the industries at which he traditionally excelled. However, united by imperial warfare, colonial insurgencies, and nervousness over the future of world politics, John Bull and Uncle Sam were also reformulated as partners in the quest for global leadership. The iconography of inter-imperialism celebrated shared cultural and social interconnections and featured new hybrid symbols of Anglo-American global leadership.

in Comic empires
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Portraits of the monarch in colonial ritual

This chapter charts the growing, diversifying circulation of the Dutch monarch’s image for different audiences and purposes across the early twentieth century. It discusses Queen Wilhelmina (r. 1898–1948) and Queen Juliana (r. 1948–80), portraits of whom played an important ceremonial role at government and viceregal occasions in the East Indies, and were also adapted in creative ways by different ethnic groups as effigies at pageants. In demonstrating how the queens’ portraits were used in imperial rituals, rather than simply attending to representation, this chapter addresses scholarship on royal tours, mass spectacle and empire that has to date overlooked the role of photography in forging connections between monarchs and their colonial subjects. The chapter assesses colonial audiences’ engagement with European monarchies beyond the parameters of the ‘royal tour’, which was actually uncommon in most empires other than British overseas possessions.

in Photographic subjects

This chapter examines continuity and change in photographs of royal celebrations made by Dutch authorities during the long decolonisation of the Netherlands East Indies/Indonesia. It discusses the celebration of Queen Juliana in Dutch New Guinea (1948–62). It also presents evidence that, during the Dutch military actions (1945–50) that preceded Indonesia’s independence, royal celebrations were an important opportunity for Dutch soldiers to celebrate victories and claim territorial sovereignty for the Netherlands. Royal celebrations were also instrumental in the battle for civilian hearts and minds, particularly to demonstrate the benevolence of Dutch soldiers to Indonesians. This chapter reveals that Wilhelmina was not just a hero of the Second World War in the Netherlands, but also very much a soldiers’ queen in Indonesia during the dying days of the Dutch empire in Asia.

in Photographic subjects
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Mass photography, monarchy and the making of colonial subjects

This chapter reveals how colonial subjects recorded their own participation in royal celebrations as amateur photographers, and collected mass-produced photographs of the Dutch monarchy, thus placing the East Indies and family events at the centre of historic, imperial occasions. It shows how family photography emerged as an important medium for diverse colonial populations to forge a cosmopolitan identity predicated on support for an institution that was still mostly parochial (a national monarchy) at the beginning of Wilhelmina’s reign in 1898, but emphatically international (in terms of an empire) by the 1940s, when Wilhelmina was in her maturity. It also explores the connections between the emergence of family photography and the popularisation of the Dutch monarchy during the 1930s, particularly through the marriage and childbearing of Crown Princess Juliana, when the image of the ‘ordinary’ monarchy first emerged.

in Photographic subjects
Unity in diversity at royal celebrations

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.

in Photographic subjects
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Lights, camera and … ‘Ethical’ rule!

The personal association between Queen Wilhelmina and the Ethical Policy, a doctrine of liberal reform that she announced early in her reign (in 1901), is examined in this chapter for how it manifested in royal celebrations. At the start of her reign, lanterns and gaslights at royal pageants marked a continuation of centuries-old festival practices in both the East Indies and the Netherlands. However, the electrification of the Indies proceeded apace under Wilhelmina’s rule. This chapter uses published commemorative books, photographs taken by colonial officials who orchestrated festivals, and amateur private photographs to show how the electrification of the Indies was photographed on annual Queen’s Day celebrations and at other milestones of Wilhelmina’s reign. The spectacular uses of night photography in particular gave colonial photographers an opportunity to show how ‘modern’ the East Indies was, more so even than the Netherlands, and thus to celebrate the ‘progress’ made under the Ethical Policy. Photography articulated a complex association between modernisation, benevolent Dutch colonialism and the monarchy in ways that refused the peripheral status of the Indies relative to the metropole.

in Photographic subjects
The Dutch colonial world during Queen Wilhelmina’s reign, 1898–1948

This chapter introduces Queen Wilhelmina, a monarch who never toured her colonies, yet was better known and celebrated there than any of her predecessors and thus represents perhaps the only truly imperial monarch in Dutch history. It examines the development of mass photography in the Netherlands East Indies (colonial Indonesia) during Wilhelmina’s reign (1898–1948). It was photography above all other media that ‘globalised’ the Dutch monarchy for colonial subjects in a way that enabled a wide range of her subjects, from Indigenous royals to ordinary people, to creatively respond to and interact with this important imperial institution.

in Photographic subjects
Monarchy and visual culture in colonial Indonesia

Photographic subjects examines photography at royal celebrations during the reigns of Wilhelmina (1898–1948) and Juliana (1948–80), a period spanning the zenith and fall of Dutch rule in Indonesia. It is the first monograph in English on the Dutch monarchy and the Netherlands’ modern empire in the age of mass and amateur photography.

This book reveals how Europeans and Indigenous people used photographs taken at Queen’s Day celebrations to indicate the ritual uses of portraits of Wilhelmina and Juliana in the colonies. Such photographs were also objects of exchange across imperial networks. Photograph albums were sent as gifts by Indigenous royals in ‘snapshot diplomacy’ with the Dutch monarchy. Ordinary Indonesians sent photographs to Dutch royals in a bid for recognition and subjecthood. Professional and amateur photographers associated the Dutch queens with colonial modernity and with modes of governing difference across an empire of discontiguous territory and ethnically diverse people. The gendered and racial dimensions of Wilhelmina’s and Juliana’s engagement with their subjects emerge uniquely in photographs, which show these two women as female kings who related to their Dutch and Indigenous subjects in different visual registers.

Photographic subjects advances methods in the use of photographs for social and cultural history, reveals the entanglement of Dutch and Indonesian histories in the twentieth century, and provides a new interpretation of Wilhelmina and Juliana as imperial monarchs. The book is essential for scholars and students of colonial history, South-east Asian and Indonesian studies, and photography and visual studies.