Across the first half of the twentieth century, American Protestant and Catholic missionaries produced one of the largest bodies of photographic images – still and moving – of any foreign group in China. They engaged in prolific visual practices that merged global trends in amateur photography and filmmaking with new ideas about modern missions and Christian internationalism. This talk reconstructs intersections between visual technologies and Sino-US encounters in Republican China, exploring how missionary cameras mediated ground-level experiences and transnational world-making projects behind and in front of the lens.
Joseph W. Ho is Assistant Professor of History at Albion College, Michigan, and a Center Associate at the University of Michigan’s Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies. His research concerns transnational visual culture, histories of photography and film, global Christianity, and Sino-US encounters in modern East Asia. He is the author of Developing Mission: Photography, Filmmaking, and American Missionaries in Modern China (Cornell University Press, 2021).