Primary sources are precious data, to state the obvious. I met a student in an art history class, who, through a family member, had “access to an archive of photographs of Christian missionaries in the Congo during the late nineteenth century.”
So how to use ths collection for the current course? What about exploring first how art historians have studied this kind of visual materials using the methods of postcolonialism and cultural studies?
We begin by exploring in the database, ARTbiliographies Modern:
Lydon, Jane. “‘Behold the Tears': Photography as Colonial Witness.” History of Photography 34, no. 3 (2010): 234-234-250.
(Edited by) Hight, Eleanor M., Gary D. Sampson, Brenda L. Croft, Julia Ballerini, John Falconer, Ayshe Erdogdu, Rebecca J. DeRoo, et al. Colonialist Photography: Imag(in)Ing Race and Place Routledge, 2002.
Geary, Christraud M. “Missionary Photographs: Private and Public Readings.” African Arts 24, no. 4 (1991): 48-48-59, 98-100.
[Meet Dr Christraud Geary in the story, Six Degrees of Separation.]
African Studies would certainly be another valuable perspective:
Godby, Michael [Michael Adrian Patric Godby]. “Framing the Colonial Subject: the Photographs of W.F.P. Burton [1886-1971] in the Former Belgian Congo.” Social Dynamics 19, no. 1 (January 1, 1993): 11-25.
And, how about other displines, besides art history? How do others handle visual research? We looked in the Tufts Library Catalog: