Visualizing American EmpireOrientalism and Imperialism in the Philippines

Visualizing American EmpireOrientalism and Imperialism in the Philippines

David Brody

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226075334

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


In 1899 an American could open a newspaper and find outrageous images, such as an American soldier being injected with leprosy by Filipino insurgents. These kinds of hyperbolic accounts, this book argues, were just one element of the visual and material culture that played an integral role in debates about empire in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America. The book explores the ways visual imagery and design shaped the political and cultural landscape. Drawing on a myriad of sources—including photographs, tattoos, the decorative arts, the popular press, maps, parades, and material from world's fairs and urban planners—it offers a distinctive perspective on American imperialism. Exploring the period leading up to the Spanish–American War, as well as beyond it, the book argues that the way Americans visualized the Orient greatly influenced the fantasies of colonial domestication that would play out in the Philippines. Throughout, it examines visual culture's integral role in the machinery that runs the colonial engine.