The other
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Benito Panunzi, Group of Tehuelche Indians

Welcome to the guided tour "the other", which is about to depart! Please use the "back" and "forward" buttons below to take you through this part of the exhibition. Click on the images if you want to find out more about an exhibit, or if you want to see a larger image of it.

The nineteenth century was not merely an era of identification: of the visual, narrative, or ritual construction of nations, classes, genders, ethnicities and various other kinds of communities that were taken to be self-evident and "natural". Rather, the possibility of identifying (and of identifying oneself with) such communities was dependent on their being contrasted to an "other", which had to be constructed at the same time as the "self". Although, or because, this simultaneous emergence of self and other always also implied their hierarchization (that is, their inscription into scales of moral, political or physical value), the other was hardly ever merely a negative mirror-image of the self. More often, relations between self and other were much more complex, with lines of exchange, desire or longing criss-crossing the boundary of a surface appearance of binary oppositions.

In Latin America, as we shall see in this tour, the distinction between self and other was further complicated by the peripheral location and post-colonial status of the emergent nation-states. At the same time as containing their own "others within" (indigenous and mestizo communities, Afro-Americans, sexual or linguistic minorities, indeed "the people" themselves), these nation-states as they were imagined by emergent, Creole ruling elites, were themselves constantly under threat of being "othered" by the industrial centres of the north. This complex constellation, this tour will argue, inscribed a particular anxiety at the heart of the images of "others" that proliferated in photographs, museum displays, paintings and monuments of the late nineteenth century.

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