Accepted paper:

Women and children first: age and gender in the photographs of the "Desert Conquest" in Northpatagonia, Argentina, by the end of the 19th Century.


Ana Butto (University of Buenos Aires)

Paper short abstract:

The aim of this work is to analyze the representations of age and gender of the militars and natives photographed during the “Desert Conquest” in Northern Patagonia, Argentina, by the end of the 19th Century with the end of discussing some demographic and socioeconomic issues revealed by these data.

Paper long abstract:

In this presentation we propose to examine and analyze the corpus of photographs produced during the "Desert Conquest" in Northern Patagonia by the end of the 19th Century with the aim of tracking down the representations of age and gender of the photographed subjetcs: soldiers that were part of the military campaigns and indigenous peoples of Pampa and Patagonia. We consider the photographs as indexes that kept and still keep a direct relationship with the represented referent, in this case the military and indigenous people, wich allows us to gain access to a biased representation of part of the past reality, which allows to assess the interests and aims of the photographers and to record evidence of the represented subjects. In order to do this, we analyzed a corpus of 235 images found in the 2 official albums that visually record the "Desert Conquest" and examined the age and gender of the 1395 photographed subjects. The comparison of these data to the etnographically known age and gender pyramid of the indigenous people and the western society at that time allows us to demonstrate how these representations have been biased and to discuss the purposes of such biases, in the context of the conformation and cruel territorial expansion of the Argentinean state by the end of 19th Century.

panel P14
Constructing and Contesting Imaginaries: Anthropology, Photography, and the Histories of Durable Visual Tropes