This special issue of positions analyzes how the creation and proliferation of photographic images in East Asia affect global perceptions of the region's gender, ethnic, historical, and cultural identities. The contributors assess the ways that East Asia's relationship to the world and to its own past are increasingly mediated by the global circulation of visual images. They approach photography as both an object and medium of cultural critique. In researching the early history of photography in Japan, one contributor traces the genealogy of the Japanese term that was appropriated to mean photographyoshashinoand argues that it evoked both the existing pictorial practices of the time and the new photographic technologies that were imported from the West. Another focuses on one of the most ideologically fraught locations in modern China, Tiananmen Square, and analyzes how image and space combine to form an ideological framework that defines the relationship between the photographic subject and prevailing social values.
Yet another contributor studies family portraiture during the latter years of China's Cultural Revolution, arguing that the practice was a ritual of daily life, mediating the individual's relationship to family and the nation as well as forming the materials of private histories. Contributors: Yomi Braester; Kirsten Cather; Sarah Frederick; Maki Fukuoka; Nicole Huang; Wu Hung; Andrew Jones
Maki Fukuoka, Toward a Synthesized History of Photography: A Conceptual Geneaology of Shashin; Andrew Jones, Portable Monuments: Architectural Photography and the "Forms" of Empire in Modern China; Yomi Braester, Photography at Tiananmen: Pictorial Frames, Spatial Borders, Ideological Matrixes; Nicole Huang, Locating Family Portraits: Everyday Imaged from 1970s China; Wu Hung, Negotiating Art and Visual Culture: The s"Old Photo Craze" and the Avant-Garde Use of Old Photographs; Kirsten Cather, A Thousand Words: The Powers and Dangers of Text and Image; Sarah Frederick, Novels to See/Movies to Read: Photographic Fiction in Japanese Women's Magazines