University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Visual Constructions of South Asia (2014-15) > Teaching the Alphabet of Health to the Indian Masses: The Visual Languages of the Red Cross in India, 1918-1939

Teaching the Alphabet of Health to the Indian Masses: The Visual Languages of the Red Cross in India, 1918-1939

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes.

This seminar explores the visual languages and representations of the Red Cross Movement in colonial India during the interwar period. Drawing on the First World War experience of mass par- ticipation, the use of large scale propaganda machineries and the availability of films as new medium of instruction, the newly estab- lished Indian Red Cross Society embarked on the task to educate the Indian masses in the ‘alphabet of health’. As high illiteracy was perceived to be among the chief problems, a host of specifically visual educational, pedagogic and performative strategies were devised to meet the needs of the Indian context. The visual representations of the Red Cross in colonial India shed light on the global and transnational interconnectedness of humanitarian discourses and visual languages and reveal complex negotiations of social, colonial and racial hierarchies.

This talk is part of the Visual Constructions of South Asia (2014-15) series.

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