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Instagram Photography of Havana: Nostalgia, Digital Imperialism and the Tourist Gaze

Ogden, Rebecca (2021) Instagram Photography of Havana: Nostalgia, Digital Imperialism and the Tourist Gaze. Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 98 (1). pp. 87-108. ISSN 1475-3839. (doi:10.3828/bhs.2021.6) (KAR id:83898)

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Abstract

This article proposes to add Instagram photography to a historical visual mapping of Havana during a period of renewed visibility. Further enabled by the features of Instagram’s format to ‘age’ photos and highlight specific textures and colours, scholars have suggested, these images draw on and contribute to a nostalgic vision of an exotic, underdeveloped Havana. Instagram photography emerges as an important touristic mode of imagining and experiencing the city. Yet despite the aesthetic overdetermination of these images, their captions and hashtags often stymie any suggestion of political meaning. Nevertheless, the networked image, organized and anchored by metadata such as the geotag and hashtag, further cements the signifier ‘Havana’ to the photographic image, and confirms the city as worthy of the gaze. Lastly, the paper reflects on the broader profile of those creating and circulating Instagram images of the city, arguing that a relative lack of access to digital technologies in Cuba has resulted in a strongly asymmetric gaze from the outside in.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3828/bhs.2021.6
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Signature Themes: Migration and Movement
Depositing User: Rebecca Ogden
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2021 13:52 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2021 10:48 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/83898 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Ogden, Rebecca: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3138-2286
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