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A Camera in the Garden of Eden

A Camera in the Garden of Eden is a thorough study of the formation of a “banana republic” against a series of acts of resistance performed by workers who insisted on their right to be recognized as co-citizens. Based on a study of a variety of photographic archives, Coleman provides a lucid and powerful account of the 1954 strike and convincingly presents the civil claims and gestures involved in the strike as no less than a declaration of independence. By joining the many who used photography as part of their struggle, the imperial camera’s shutter is reactivated—one can no longer separate the study of colonies from the study of the sovereign democracies that ran them. This continuity makes Coleman’s book a must for every scholar of imperialism.”

Ariella Azoulay, Brown University

“Kevin Coleman’s A Camera in the Garden of Eden is a pathbreaking study of the banana industry in the Americas.  Offering at once a visual as well as political history, Coleman breaks new methodological ground in revealing the imaginative dimensions of social power.  A tour de force.”

Greg Grandin, Yale University

“Coleman’s study is a marvelous example of why it remains important for historians to have an ear on the ground (and their eyes on the walls) in the rooms where the stories happened. In a world in which political acts are increasingly choreographed as visual (and sonic) spectacle, Coleman’s study deserves a readership that goes beyond those who study Honduras or Central America. As teachers, we need to encourage students to encounter visual culture with a critical eye; the theoretical and methodological insights offered in this book make it an excellent starting point for rethinking how we teach students to visualize the past.”

John Soluri, Carnegie Mellon University

“This is a brilliant work, an extraordinary study that will become a model for historians (and scholars from other fields) who wish to incorporate photography rigorously into their analyses. The author’s erudition and his capacity to tease out meanings make this work applicable to all of Latin America (and other neocolonial states), as well as obligatory for anyone who wishes to write intelligently about photography. Although I have worked on the question of photography and history for more than forty years, I can think of no work that is in any way comparable to this book.”

John Mraz, Universidad Autónoma de Puebla

Order A Camera in the Garden of Eden.

Paperback | $27.95
Published by the University of Texas Press
2016 | 328 pages | 6 x 9 |
13 color and 97 b&w photos, 2 b&w illus., 2 color and 5 b&w maps |
ISBN: 978-1-4773-0855-4