States of Undress: Nakedness and the Colonial Imagination

  title={States of Undress: Nakedness and the Colonial Imagination},
  author={Philippa Levine},
  journal={Victorian Studies},
  pages={189 - 219}
  • P. Levine
  • Published 11 July 2008
  • Art
  • Victorian Studies
The politics and aesthetics of nakedness was, for Victorians, both complex and slippery, the result of ambivalent nineteenth-century attitudes toward the unclothed body. This essay argues that such vexed attitudes about nudity and nakedness in Victorian Britain cannot fully be comprehended without reference to the experience of empire. Colonialism's seemingly timeless fascination with indigenous undress provoked a number of questions about human difference, evolution, and the nature of… 
Naked Truths: Bodies, Knowledge, and the Erotics of Colonial Power
If clothing can be said to have political and cultural meaning, then the same must surely be true of its absence. In the British Empire, where the calibration of difference was paramount, nakedness
The Unveiling Body
This chapter interrogates the political imagination that imbues unveiling with the values of liberal progressive politics. It asks, why is the removal of the veil and the revelation of flesh, an
From Ideology to Dogma? A discussion about Femen, Aliaa Elmahdy, and Nudity in the Arab World
: Looking at Aliaa Elmahdy’s act of protest through posting naked photos of herself on her blog, this paper studies the debates that followed. I complicate the juxtaposing between Femen’s tactics and
Reinstitute: Performing methods of undress, má and decolonial aestheSis
This article focuses on an analysis of Reinstitute, which was a performance intervention that was implemented in 2019, and which had the aim of troubling the construction and embodiment of the suit,
Nakedness and Movement Culture
Nakedness and Movement Culture The paper deals with a topic which is not very frequent in kinanthropology; it concerns the phenomenon of the naked body in the environment of movement culture. Within
Un/clothing African womanhood: colonial statements and postcolonial discourses of the African female body
Using the examples of the partially unclothed African woman in Senegal's controversial African Renaissance Monument (2009) and the 2008 proposed Anti-Nudity bill in Nigeria, this article probes
Sexy and sovereign? Aboriginal models hit the ‘multicultural mainstream’
ABSTRACT Long argued by post-colonial scholarship, Indigenous sexualities have been variously cast as pathological and abject, or fetishized and exotiziced. In the Australian context, Aboriginal
Among the Beasts of Burma: Animals and the Politics of Colonial Sensibilities, c. 1840–1940
According to imperial writings, the Burmese were too close to animals, both physically and emotionally. It was claimed that some Burmese people had innate connections to animals, notably
Theorising Nudist Equality: An Encounter Between Political Fantasy and Public Appearance
This paper approaches in/equality theorising through the lens of social nudism. Its starting point is a left conception of inequality where systemic power and the politics of oppression displace
The Visual Embodiment of Women in the Korea Mission Field
  • Hyaeweol Choi
  • Art
    Critical Readings in the History of Christian Mission
  • 2010
This article explores the role of missionary photography in enhancing our understanding of Christian mission history. It specifically focuses on the visual embodiment of women whose lives and stories


On Imperial Spectacle: The Dialectics of Seeing in Colonial Nigeria
  • A. Apter
  • Art
    Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • 2002
Critical studies of visual culture have established profound connections between capitalism, state power and the “scopic regimes of modernity” (Jay 1988). As the dominant philosophical leitmotif of
Naked Authority: The Body in Western Painting 1830-1908
The human body, and in recent times particularly the female body, is central to western painting. Images such as Delacroix's Liberty on the Barricades and Manet's Le Dejeuner sur l'Herbe are so well
A Politics of Nudity: Photographs of the 'Naked Mru' of Bangladesh
This article uses photographs to explore the meanings of nudity in a district of Bangladesh. Throughout the colonial and postcolonial periods, photography was a major tool here in the framing of a
Colonialism and its forms of knowledge: the British in India
This collection of his writings in the last fifteen years discusses areas in which the colonial impact has generally been overlooked. The essays form an exploration of the ways in which the British
Gone Primitive: Savage Intellects, Modern Lives
In this acclaimed book, Torgovnick explores the obsessions, fears, and longings that have produced Western views of the primitive. Crossing an extraordinary range of fields (anthropology, psychology,
Dirt, Undress, and Difference: Critical Perspectives on the Body's Surface
While there is widespread interest in dress and hygiene as vehicles of cultural, moral, and political value, little scholarly attention has been paid to cross-cultural understandings of dirt and
Colonialism's Culture: Anthropology, Travel, and Government
List of illustrations Preface Introduction 1. From Present to Past: the Politics of Colonial Studies 11 2. Culture and Rule: Theories of Colonial Discourse 33 3. From Past to Present: Colonial
What's British about Gender and Empire? The Problem of Exceptionalism
When historians speak of exceptionalism it is the history and the historiography of the United States that comes most immediately to mind. The notion of American exceptionalism has certainly
The Nude: The Cultural Rhetoric of the Body in the Art of Western Modernity
The Nude explores some of the principal ways that paintings of the nude function in the conflicted terrain of culture and society in Europe and America from the fifteenth through twentieth centuries,
The myth of the noble savage
In this important and original study, the myth of the Noble Savage is an altogether different myth from the one defended or debunked by others over the years. That the concept of the Noble Savage was