Home Institution

University of San Francisco

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Program Name

Senegal: National Identity and the Arts


With so clear a history, geography, and memory located in the colonial area, this study explores how contemporary St.Louis, du Sénégal expresses a synthesis of two identities. Métissage culturelle, defined as Franco-African mixed cultural heritage, is rooted in both the public and imaginative identities of St.Louisans creative, artistic, and political force, was heavily influenced by social upheaval and transformation post Independence. This essay argues that nineteenth century portrait photography was an outlet for Sénégalais to create their alternative, self-defined identities in response to changes within their social and cultural environment. Portrait photography is discussed through two frameworks, the social role of the photographer and the agency of the individual. Photography is also discussed in terms of how it produces meaningful discourses by means of profiling, recording, and transferring newer ways of seeing.


African Languages and Societies | Arts and Humanities | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Photography


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