Sarah Dellmann: Images of ‘Dutchness’. The Emergence of Modern Popular Imagery and Representations
May 2010-April 2014
Project “The Nation and Its Other”, NWO Program “Cultural Dynamics”: http://www.uu.nl/hum/nation-and-its-other
Utrecht University, Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON)
Promotor: Prof. Dr. Frank Kessler, supervisor: Dr. Nanna Verhoeff
In my PhD project, I investigate the role of images in the creation of supposed common knowledge about the Netherlands and the Dutch in the long nineteenth century. To this end, I did archival research and assembled images (> 2.500) which claim to inform about the Netherlands and the Dutch in a realist way. I especially look at images that circulated internationally and at high scale – that is, images in popular visual media such as catchpenny prints, perspective prints, prints of people in local costumes, advertising trade cards, illustrated magazines, travel guides, promotional material for travel and tourism, stereoscopic photographs, magic lantern slides, picture postcards and films of early cinema. The images were used in different fields – geography, anthropology, entertainment, tourism or expressing feelings towards the homeland.
The transmedial and comparative approach enables me to trace the occurrence and change of motifs that were used to communicate information about The Netherlands and the Dutch. My assumption is that supposed common knowledge about the Netherlands and the Dutch is the result of performing the images with textual comment. Rather than searching for a ‘real Dutch identity’ that was represented ‘rightly’ or ‘wrongly’, I investigate how images now associated with the Netherlands or the Dutch came into circulation. When did the cliché of tulips, cows, and windmills emerge? Why did people around 1900 associate the Dutch with baggy-trousered fishermen?