Portrait, Travelogues und Weblogs – zu visuellen Migrationen der Hottentotten-Venus

  • Kerstin Brandes


Portrait, Travelogues, and Weblogs – On Visual Migrations of the Hottentot Venus

The article focuses on visual migrations of the so-called Hottentot Venus – likewise the stage name of an historical person known as Saartjie or Sarah Baartman who was taken from Africa to Europe in the early 19th century and of a phantasmatic figure circulating within the (male) European imaginary, historically constituted within the ever shifting and yet stable paradigms of sexuality, femininity and beauty, alterity and racism. It discusses the Hottentot Venus with reference to historical processes of image invention and image circulation as they are indispensably entangled with media developments. In, thus, exploring the very relationship between the continuities and shifts in meaning as they are evoked by the (certain) use of (certain) images, the text introduces an approach that has so far remained desideratum in respective research, but has an important impact on both the notion of the historical figure and conceptualizations of (black) femininity past and present. Exemplified scenarios are the portrait, travelogues, and weblogs.