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Caught in the Flash: Visual Subjects of American Imperialism at the Battle of Caloocan

Elizabeth Spaeth

Abstract

This paper focuses on the revolutionary use of photojournalism in Leslie’s Weekly and Harper’s Weekly from 1899 to 1901 during the Philippine- American War, in particular at the Battle of Caloocan.1 I discuss the context of visual journalism and social realism from the Civil War to the 1890s as well as the shift from caricature illustrations to realism in photography and articles. I trace the “commodity racism” involved in American consumerism during the Philippine-American War that paralleled the voyeuristic consumption of the Filipino dead and the development of a gendered and classed American nationalism. As American culture shifted more towards a focus on the individual and personhood in amateur photography and social realism, Filipino bodies were nevertheless treated as objects and trophies of war and caricatured as savages in visual representations.


Keywords

Philippine American War; Battle of Caloocan; American Empire; Visual Representations of Violence; Photojournalism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/2954