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The Camera as Witness
A Social History of Mizoram, Northeast India


  • Date Published: May 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107073395

£ 91.99

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About the Authors
  • The Camera as Witness lifts the veil off the little known world of Mizoram and challenges - through unpublished photographs - core assumptions in the writing of India's national history. The pictures in the book establish the transformation of this society and the many forms of modernity that have emerged in it. It emphasises how 'indigenous people' in Mizoram used cameras to produce distinct modern identities and represent themselves to themselves, consistently contesting outsiders' imaginations of them as isolated, backward and in need of upliftment. The authors demonstrate how mostly amateur photographers used visual images to document a historical trajectory of heady change and continual reinvention, producing distinct modern identities. By virtue of its use of visual sources and its engagement with a wide range of important discourses, this book is relevant for students, historians, social scientists, political activists and general readers looking for a fresh approach to Northeast India.

    • Revisits the history of Mizoram, northeast India, contesting stereotypes about the region and its people
    • This full colour book has almost 400 unpublished photographs from the 1860s to 2010
    • Visual sources and text are supported by archival documents like correspondences, diary entries and early news sheets
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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107073395
    • length: 502 pages
    • dimensions: 237 x 162 x 41 mm
    • weight: 0.86kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    List of maps
    Part I. Becoming Mizo:
    1. Introduction
    2. Coming into view: the first images
    3. Adjusting Mizo culture
    4. Domesticating a new religion
    5. Getting educated
    6. Controlling the hills
    7. The trouble of travel
    8. First stirrings of the market economy
    9. Mizos in the World Wars
    10. Mizo visual sensibilities
    Part II. Mizoram in the New India:
    11. The long goodbye
    12. The emergence of popular politics
    13. Mizoram and the new Indian order
    14. Mizoram comes to Delhi
    15. The search for authenticity at home
    16. Mizo style: cowboys at heart
    Part III. Visions of Independence:
    17. Famine and revolt
    18. The Mizoram government at home – and in East Pakistan
    19. The Mizoram government – in Burma, China and Bangladesh
    20. A state and its minorities
    Part IV. Mizo Modernities:
    21. Being cool: the music scene
    22. Being cool: sharp dressers
    23. Studio modernity
    24. Conclusion
    Acknowledgement of copyrights and sources

  • Authors

    Joy L. K. Pachuau, Jawaharlal Nehru University
    Joy L. K. Pachuau is Associate Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has contributed chapters in books like Portuguese Presence in India in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Religion in Indian History: Ideas, Practice, and Chance and Chin: History Culture and Identity. Her articles have been published in Studies in History and Eastern Quarterly.

    Willem van Schendel, Universiteit van Amsterdam
    Willem van Schendel is Professor of Modern Asian History, University of Amsterdam. He is the author of A History of Bangladesh, The Bengal Borderland: Beyond State and Nation in South Asia and The Chittagong Hill Tracts: Living in a Borderland, to name a few. He has curated several photography exhibitions, including the acclaimed 'Mizo Modernities'; Festival of the Northeast – Cultures of Peace.

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