The Optic of the State: Visuality and Power in Argentina and Brazil

Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 19.01.03As Jens Andermann argues in this excellent book, the traditional script tends to regard the state as the concrete, inevitable outcome of social and economic processes and, in doing so, it overlooks how an array of visual practices made possible this ‘political metaphysics’. By examining a rich corpus of archival material, which includes catalogues, photographs, maps, personal correspondence, paintings, and journalism, The Optic of the State demonstrates how museums, exhibitions, and the subjugation of the pampa and sertão employed new technologies of seeing that were integral to the consolidation of specific forms of state power. That is, the capture, classification, and display of fragments of nature and otherness constituted a comprehensive effort to establish modernizing projects as the true realizations of a broad, nationalist teleology.

Brendan Lanctot, Hispanic Research Journal

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: “Empires of Nature: Museums, Science, and the Politics of Being”

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