In this article, I argue that the introduction of a uniform for female converts was a crucial factor in maintaining power dynamics in African Methodist Episcopal missionary work conducted in South Africa between 1900 and 1940. This relationship, I suggest, is epitomized in photographs from the mission field. Through studying the ways missionaries photographed women, I am able to critique how clothing expressed inherent, imbalanced power relations between missionaries and converts. I thus build on existing literature concerning the relationship between clothing and the indigenous female body, through an examination of clothing as a marker of status within the patriarchal mission family construct.
BrockP.“Nakedness and Clothing in Early Encounters Between Aboriginal People of Central Australia, Missionaries and Anthropologists”Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History200781147url: http://muse.jhu.edu.ezproxy.library.uwa.edu.au/journals/journal_of_colonialism_and_colonial_history/v008/8.1brock.html
HarrisB.HartmannW.SilvesterJ.HayesP.“Photography in Colonial Discourse: the Making of the ‘Other’ in Southern Africa, c. 1850–1950”The Colonising Camera: Photographs in the Making of Namibian History1998AthensOhio University Press2024
JollyMargaretMandersonL.JollyM.“From Point Venus to Bali Ha’i: Eroticism and Exoticism in Representations of the Pacific”Sites of Desire Economies of Pleasure: Sexualities in Asia and the Pacific1997ChicagoThe University of Chicago Press99122