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Vision, visibility and power in colonial India
Author: Niharika Dinkar

Beyond its simple valorisation as a symbol of knowledge and progress in post-Enlightenment narratives, light was central to the visual politics and imaginative geographies of empire. Empires of Light describes how imperial designations of ‘cities of light’ and ‘hearts of darkness’ were consonant with the dynamic material culture of light in the nineteenth-century industrialisation of light (in homes, streets, theatres, etc.) and its instrumentalisation through industries of representation. Empires of Light studies the material effects of light as power through the drama of imperial vision and its engagement with colonial India. It evaluates responses by the celebrated Indian painter Ravi Varma (1848–1906) to claim the centrality of light in imperial technologies of vision, not merely as an ideological effect but as a material presence that produces spaces and inscribes bodies.

Portraiture, caricature and visual culture in Britain, c. 1830–80
Author: Henry Miller

This book examines the role of political likenesses in a half-century that was crucial for the political modernisation of Britain, a two-party system that began to take shape and politicians became increasingly accountable and responsive to public opinion. Political language, especially electoral rhetoric, has been accorded considerable weight by recent studies in building broad coalitions of political support in popular and electoral politics. The book studies political likenesses, the key mode of visual politics at this time, as part of a nuanced analysis of contemporary political culture and the nature of the representative system. It examines a diverse range of material including woven silk portraiture, oil paintings, numismatics and medals, banners, ceramics, statuary and memorials as well as items printed on paper or card. After an analysis of the visual culture spawned by the reform bills of 1831-1832, the book shows how Conservative and Liberal/Reformer identities were visualised through semi-official series of portrait prints. The pictorial press, photographs and portrait testimonials, statues and memorials, MPs were venerated as independent representatives and champions of particular localities, trades, interests or issues, and not party hacks. Depictions of Lord Palmerston and his rivals, including Lord John Russell and Lord Derby, in the 1850s and 1860s often underplayed in pictorial representations to emphasise physical and political vigour. The role of political portraits and cartoons in the decade after the passing of the 1867 Representation of the People Act is also discussed.

Rethinking art, media, and the audio-visual contract
Author: Ming-Yuen S. Ma

There is no soundtrack is a specific yet expansive study of sound tactics deployed in experimental media art today. It analyses how audio and visual elements interact and produce meaning, drawing from works by contemporary media artists ranging from Chantal Akerman, to Nam June Paik, to Tanya Tagaq. It then links these analyses to discussions on silence, voice, noise, listening, the soundscape, and other key ideas in sound studies. In making these connections, the book argues that experimental media art – avant-garde film, video art, performance, installation, and hybrid forms – produces radical and new audio-visual relationships that challenge and destabilize the visually-dominated fields of art history, contemporary art criticism, cinema and media studies, and cultural studies as well as the larger area of the human sciences. This book directly addresses what sound studies scholar Jonathan Sterne calls ‘visual hegemony’. It joins a growing body of interdisciplinary scholarship that is collectively sonifying the study of culture while defying the lack of diversity within the field by focusing on practitioners from transnational and diverse backgrounds. Therefore, the media artists discussed in this book are of interest to scholars and students who are exploring aurality in related disciplines including gender and feminist studies, queer studies, ethnic studies, postcolonial studies, urban studies, environmental analysis, and architecture. As such, There Is No Soundtrack makes meaningful connections between previously disconnected bodies of scholarship to build new, more complex and reverberating frameworks for the study of art, media, and sound.

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Counter-power in photography from slavery to Occupy Wall Street
Nicholas Mirzoeff

unresolved climate debt. In Detroit, Ferguson, Istanbul and many other places, we have learned that each and every one of us has the right to look and the right to be seen. And in Hong Kong in 2014, we were asking: how can a city be different from an empire? What does that change look like? Let’s go and find out. Note 1 This is a work-​in-​progress around the concept of the visual commons. My thanks go to the editors for their interest in publishing it in that format. References Abel, Elizabeth. 2010. Signs of the Times: The Visual Politics of Jim Crow. Berkeley

in Image operations
Kimberly Lamm

designated ‘colored’ did not have separate lavatories for men and women. In Signs of the Times: The Visual Politics of Jim Crow, Elizabeth Abel describes this instance of racism as ‘consigning the bodies behind the ungendered door to an undifferentiated biological domain that is as much a subhuman outside as a prelapsarian home prior to the law of gender.’53 Jim Crow’s spatial collapse of sexual difference, which relegated black bodies to what Abel identifies as a ‘subhuman outside,’ insulted black men and women alike, as it barred access to the recognition offered by

in Addressing the other woman
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Henry Miller

they were perceived, individually and collectively, and illuminate the nature of the relationship between parliamentarians and constituents that was recast after 1832. This book studies political likenesses, the key mode of visual politics at this time, as part of a nuanced analysis of contemporary political culture and the nature of the representative system. However, it also places these images in context, not studying them as decontextualised visual texts, but as visual media that were produced, distributed, consumed and used as material objects. To this end, a

in Politics personified
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Niharika Dinkar

Alongside an industrial empire of light, Burke’s vision of a conquering empire therefore summons the light of empire, as light assumes a significant place within an imperial optics and its engagement with the colonial world. Even as light featured as a symbol of knowledge and progress in post-­ Enlightenment narratives, it was central to the visual politics and imaginative geographies of empire. Geographical spaces were mapped in terms of ‘cities of light’ and ‘hearts of darkness’, and ‘the civilising mission’ employed iconographies of torches or the lifting of the veil

in Empires of light
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Rethinking the audio-visual contract
Ming-Yuen S. Ma

. Sounding visuality Political economist Jacques Attali proclaims at the beginning of Noise, his treatise on music as a herald for social change: ‘For twenty-five centuries, Western knowledge has tried to look upon the world. It has failed to understand that the world is not for the beholding. It is for hearing.’ 2 Similarly, Douglas Kahn begins his study of sound, modernism, and the arts – Noise, Water, Meat – thusly: Sound saturates the arts of this century, and its importance becomes evident if we can hear past the presumption of mute visuality within art history, past

in There is no soundtrack