Working the Kodak Zone: The Labor Relations of Race and Photography in the Philippine Cordilleras

Friday, January 4, 2019: 2:10 PM
Salon 7 (Palmer House Hilton)
Adrian De Leon, University of Toronto
By conducting close readings of three photographs of dog cooking in the Philippine Cordilleras, this article posits new labor history frameworks through critical readings of photographs, their subjects, and their larger economies of production and circulation. It argues that the ethnological visuality of Spanish and American imperialisms in the mountains of Northern Luzon, which produced discourses of race and indigeneity for the purposes of colonial occupation and imperial politics, amounted to various labor relations between Cordillerans in front of the camera, Americans behind and around the camera, and global audiences in European and North American fair midways. What becomes known variously as the “industrious savage” or the “dog-eating Igorrote” at the turn of the twentieth century crystallized in part out of workers’ assertions to fair wages, good working conditions, and collective dignity.