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Figure 1. Modern print from an original chronophotographic negative, Woman


Walking with a Light Weight on Her Head (Charles Comte and Filix-Louis
Regnault, c. 1895, courtesy of the Cinimathtque Franiaise).

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Those Who Squat and Those Who Sit:


The Iconography of Race in the 1895 Films
of Filix-Louis Regnault
Fatimah Tobing Rony
Explorers do not reveal otherness. They comment
upon “anthropology,” that is, the distance sepa-
rating savagery from civilization on the dia-
chronic line of progress.’
V.Y. Mudimbe, The Invention of Africa
You are a Wolof woman from Senegal. You have come to Paris in
1895 with your husband as a performer in the Exposition Ethno-
graphique de 1’Afrique Occidentale (Senegal and French Sudan) be-
cause of the promise of good pay. You have been positioned in front
of the camera, and you are thinking about how cold it is: you can’t
believe that you have to live here in this reconstruction of a West
African village, crowded with these other West African people, some
of whom don’t even speak Wolof. Every day the white people come
to stare at you as you d o your pottery. You make fun of some of them
out loud in Wolof, which they don’t understand. You understand some
of their French; after all, you are from the port where there have been
French traders for as long as you can remember. Two men with
cameras have been filming you and others making pottery, grinding
grain, and walking. Right now, you have been told to walk straight
ahead carrying a container on your head.
You are the French physician Filix-Louis Regnault, and you are
behind the camera. Both you and your colleague Charles Comte are
using the chronophotographe, the camera invented by the physiologist
Etienne-Jules Marey intended for fast serial photography. Fascinated
by the new field called anthropology, you are delighted by this ethno-
graphic exposition at the Champs de Mars. Finally you can study the
movements of African people in the flesh-people you and other
anthropologists catalog as “savages”-instead of getting mere descrip-
tions of their movements from written accounts, photography, and art.
You are convinced that these chronophotographic documents will
elevate the new discipline of anthropology to the realm of science
[Figure 11.

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264 In the scenario just described, the divide between observer and
observed appears to be clearly marked. The exchange of looks in the
film frames produced by Regnault, however, belies any simple polarity
of subject and object. There is, for example, a Frenchman, dressed in
a city suit and hat, who accompanies the woman as she walks, never
taking his eyes off her. His walk, meant to represent the urban walk,
is there as a comparative point of reference to what Regnault terms
the woman’s “savage” locomotion.2 He also acts as an in-frame sur-
rogate for the western male gaze of the scientist. There are also two
other performers visible at frame left, watching the Frenchman watch
the woman. Finally, a little girl, also West African, stares alternately
at the group being filmed and the scientist and his camera. She appears
to break a cinematic code already established in fin-de-siitcle time
motion studies: she looks at the camera. In this scenario of comparative
racial physiology, the little girl has not learned how properly to see or
be seen. At the nexus of this exchange of looks is the Wolof woman.
She, however, is not the agent of a look. Rendered nameless and
faceless, it is her body that is deemed the most significant datum: she
is doubly marginalized as both female and A f r i ~ a n . ~
This description of the chain of looks is taken from chronophotogra-
phy by the physician Filix-Louis Regnault, a series of time motion
studies considered by many to be the earliest example of ethnographic
film.4 The images are artifacts of a time when medical doctors in the
name of science were feverishly engaged in narrativizing human history
as a linear evolution from darker to lighter-skinned peoples. This
fascination with race characterized much of early cinema and remains
prevalent today. It is no coincidence that issues of race are as essential
to popular films such as D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of the Nation
(1915),as to documentaries such as Robert Flaherty’s Nunook ofthe
North (1922). Cinema was, and is, intimately linked with the evolu-
tionary ideology that posits race as the predominant means of explain-
ing human difference.
Although Regnault’s images have been largely ignored by film his-
torians, visual anthropologists eager to establish a lineage for their
endeavors now claim Regnault’s films as precursors.’ Like much of
what is now termed early “ethnographic” cinema, Regnault’s films
seem to have no narrative. I contend, however, that there is a narrative
implicit in these films, a narrative which, in fact, is implicit in ethno-
graphic film.6 The narrative is that of evolution.
This essay is thus about “seeing” anthropology. Johannes Fabian
argues convincingly that anthropology situates the people that it stud-
ies in the “there and then,” in spatial and temporal dimensions distinct
from the present time of the anthropologist. He explains that anthro-

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pology is premised upon naturalized and evolutionary time; moreover, 265


anthropology has an inherent visualist bias, categorizing indigenous
peoples by way of taxonomic tableaus.’ My aim here is to show how
the emergence of cinema is critically linked with the emergence of
anthropology and its visualizing discourse of evolution.
The article is divided into three parts. In the first part, I describe
how the visualism of nineteenth-century anthropology inspired
Regnault’s use of film. In the second part, I examine popular repre-
sentations of people constructed as “ethnographic” (those considered
to be without technology and without history) at the turn of the
century, focusing on the ethnographic exposition that so enthralled
Regnault. I argue that in representing race, the scientific imagination
merged with the popular. In the third part, I examine Regnault’s
conception of film as the ideal positivist scientific tool for recording
movement. In Regnault’s films, as in ethnographic film generally, the
viewer is confronted with images of people who are not meant to be
seen as individuals, but as specimens of race and culture, specimens
that provide the viewer with a visualization of the evolutionary past.
Although the Wolof woman and the Frenchman walk within the same
space in the above example, they are made distant from each other
both spatially and temporally by science and by popular culture.

1. The Scientific Invention of Race: Visualizing Evolution


In his chronophotography as well as in his huge output of writings
on medicine, anthropology, prehistory, sociology, history, zoology,
and psychology, Regnault was obsessed with the body and with evo-
lution. Regnault, in other words, was one of many late nineteenth-cen-
tury physicians fascinated by the emerging discipline of anthropology.*
Race was the defining “problem” of this new discipline.’ The present-
day breakdown of anthropology into physical anthropology and cul-
tural anthropology (ethnography being the principle tool of the latter)
did not strongly emerge until the mid-twentieth century: in the nine-
teenth century, racial heredity was believed to determine culture. As
George W. Stocking, Jr. writes, physical human variety was interpreted
“in regular rectilinear terms as the result of differential progress up a
ladder of cultural stages (savagery, barbarism, civilization) accompa-
nied by a parallel transformation of particular cultural forms (poly-
theisdmonotheism; polygamy/monogamy).”lo For Regnault, the
physiological aspects of how a Wolof woman made a pot, as well as
the pot itself, were elements of an evolutionary narrative of human
development.

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266 In France, the most important anthropological organization was the


SociCtC d’Anthropologie de Paris, of which Regnault was a member.
The SociCtC was founded by the biologist Paul Broca in 1859, the same
year that Darwin’s The Origin of Species was published. A positivist
zeal for the physical description, measurement, and classification of
racially defined bodies was the driving force of anthropology at the
SociCtC. Since it was thought that brain weight correlated with intelli-
gence, and since it was often impossible to study the human brain
itself, craniology, the study of cranial measurements, came to be
considered the most important aspect of racial studies.
The desire to demarcate difference and the quest to describe the
body according to racial types coincided with the rise of imperialism
and nationalism: the discourses of race, nation, and imperialism were
intimately linked. Anthropology legitimized imperialism through its
“scientific” findings that indigenous nonEuropean peoples were infe-
rior and at the bottom of the evolutionary ladder of history.” The link
between anthropology and imperialism was strengthened by
anthropology’s voracious need for data. Until 1926, with the founding
of the Institut d’Anthropologie under Marcel Mauss, anthropologists
were not required to have actually gone to the field and “been there.’’
These “armchair anthropologists” depended on the reports of mission-
aries, travelers, and colonial physicians, as well as museum and learned
societies’ collections of skulls, maps, and photographs. Eager to acquire
more standard data to legitimize itself as a true science, the SociCtC
d’Anthropologie de Paris published a manual to be used by colonial
officers and travelers for measuring crania and reporting anthropolog-
ical descriptions. In this SociCtC manual, Broca made an analogy
between the anthropological subject and the sick patient:

Just as the best description of a malady is that which rests on a series of


observations taken singly and written by the bed of a sick man, so the best
description of a race rests on a series of individual descriptions, written at
the time of meeting, in the presence of a subject whom one is observing
without any preconception to investigate one particular fact. l2

This passage provides a particularly striking example of how the lens


that anthropology focused on colonial subjects was profoundly in-
formed by the nineteenth-century discourse on medicine and pathol-
ogy. This is not surprising: the average member of the SociCtC
d’Anthropologie de Paris was, like Regnault, a physician. However, it
was precisely the construction of the “pathological” against which
anthropology constituted its Western subject as “ n ~ r m a l . ” ’ ~
The concept of “race” was never fully scientifically validated. Even
though Regnault and other anthropologists energetically sought out

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the perfect index to measure and classify race, prominent anthropol- 267
ogists James Prichard and Paul Broca both admitted to the constructed
nature of race, as did their predecessor, Count Buffon. After thousands
of skulls had been measured and endless statistical analyses performed,
no one could agree on what race was or how to measure it. If “race”
could not be scientifically proven, however, the narrative of racial
difference with its evolutionary premise proved ideologically powerful.
The narrative was repeated and consumed in a deluge of late nine-
teenth-century visual technologies displaying the body of the “Primi-
tive,” in the form of museum collections of skulls, dioramas with wax
or plaster figures, photography, expositions, and film. Both anthro-
pology, infused with the taxonomic imagination of natural history,
and popular culture, as I will show later, incessantly visualized race.
Regnault’s writings provide ample examples of this visual obsession:
he saw evidence of race and the pathological in virtually every visual
medium conceivable. At first, Regnault embraced craniology as the
supremely objective method to understand the body. In his thesis of
1888 on cranial deformations in rickets patients, Regnault praised
Broca’s method of craniology for its mathematical exactitude, one that
eliminated “le facteur personnel.” l4 Besides crania, Regnault diagnosed
the body through art. Regnault even insisted on the descriptive truth
of art, using it as evidence of evolutionary mental development as well
as physical posture and movement.’’ Each race, he believed, has a
predominant and particular posture when at rest and when in motion:
he could thus “see” race in art.16 In his evolutionary study of the
development of body posture, a study he would later call anthro-
pographie or physiologie ethniques comparkes, he traced mankind
from the Savage, who squats, kneels, carries loads, and climbs trees in
specific ways, to the Civilized, who sits in chairs.” Everywhere, he saw
visual clues to race and evolutionary development. For Regnault, the
Savage not only squats as children do, he represents the “childhood”
of Civilized man’s “adulthood.”18
In studying race and evolution through crania, art, photography and
so on, Regnault found one essential ingredient missing-movement.
The surgical eye could dissect the corpse but could not understand
how it moved. In searching for an index for race-the unfashioned
clue-Regnault chose to explore movement, that which is “in between”
culture and nature, acting and being. In the eyes of French anthropol-
ogists, the movement of the Savage was pathological. For example, L.
Bkrenger-Fkraud, the chief medical officer of Senegal, wrote that it
appeared to be more natural for Wolof women to walk on all fours
due to the angle of their pelvic and backbones. He also stated that the
big toes of Africans were large and more capable of independent

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268 movement (thus prehensile like monkeys), as did Regnault.” If we


relate such ideas about the “animality” of West African movement to
Regnault’s films, we can begin to place Regnault’s films in the context
of a knowledge system whose paradigm was relentlessly racist and
relentlessly comparative. As his colleague at the Sociktk d’Anthro-
pologie de Paris, Charles Letourneau, put it:

In spite of its imperfections, its weaknesses and vices, the white race, semitic
and indo-european holds, certainly for the present the head in the “stee-
plechase” [sic] of human groups.20

The “steeplechase” is an important metaphor. History was a race:


those who did not vanquish would vanish. It is significant, therefore,
that Regnault would use film to record the movements of the perform-
ers he observed at the ethnographic exposition: film would inscribe
race (human difference) and would be evidence of history (which was
also a race). Time was thus conceived in evolutionary terms, with race
as the key factor, and the body as the marker of racial difference.
However, the study of bodies in themselves was not enough: how
people moved and interacted in their environment was essential, and
such environments were reconstructed for both the scientist and the
public in popular late nineteenth-century ethnographic exhibitions.

2. Spectacular Anthropology: Popular Representations of Race


The public ends up ignoring written accounts of
purely intuitive doctrines, they prefer studies
which are well documented, even if these studies
do not end with a precise conclusion.
Filix-Louis Regnault,
L’Euolution de la prostitution
In his search for ways to capture movement it is not surprising that
Regnault, like other anthropologists, frequented popular entertain-
ments such as fairs, museums, and zoos where native peoples per-
formed at the turn of the century. These popular entertainments were
not only sites of spectacle but laboratories for anthropological inves-
tigation. In 1895, Regnault wrote an ecstatic account of what he saw
at the Exposition Ethnographique de 1’Afrique Occidentale located at
the Champs de Mars, Paris [Figure 21:

I am aware that I could not observe everything. A thousand details, a


thousand particularities would require a volume.
Yes, this is the true ethnographic exposition. No one has adorned savages

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Figure 2. Illustrations accompanying Regnault’s “Exposition Ethnographique de


1’Afrique Occidentale au Champs-De-Mars a Paris. Shegal et Soudan Franqais,”
La Nature 2.3 (17 August 1895): 185.

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270 with ridiculous costumes, and no one has taught them a role in advance.
These negroes live as they do in their country, and their customs are
faithfully respected, easy to see.
May this exposition serve as a model for future expositions!2’

“A thousand details,” Regnault exclaimed. And, indeed, the exposi-


tions were full of details: at the 1895 exposition great efforts were taken
to recreate the imagined environment of Senegal and the Sudan. There
were 350 African performers living on a set made to look like a Sudanese
village with thick walls, dirt walled houses, and straw huts. People
worked as tanners, weavers, potters, and pipe makers; others were
musicians; and families sitting in front of their houses cooked in the
open air.u Events like religious ritual performances, sheep sacrifices,
and a human birth and a marriage were advertised in the newspaper^.^^
A horror uacui was revealed at the exposition: every space was
crammed with costume, animals, vegetation, and architecture. At the
same time that the exposition was a site of excess, it was also a place
of spectacle where detail was ordered, classified, and rationalized. The
ethnographic exposition framed the reading of race in what was above
all a reconstruction: the different ethnic groups at the fair were archi-
tecturally divided in an encyclopedic fashion, and there was a tendency
to group the “villagers” in nuclear family units, Noah’s A r k - ~ t y l e . ~ ~
The “native village” was one of the many visual technologies like
the natural history museum, the carte de uisite, the colonial postcard,
and even the zoo that exhibited humans, that reassured the Western
public about the reality and localization of the “Savage.” These pur-
portedly authentic reconstructions of the indigenous village began in
France in 1877 at the Jardin d’Acclimatation, and later became a
regular feature of the world’s fairs, beginning with the Exposition
Universelle in Paris in 1889. In this positivist age, it was felt that bodies
could teach the masses about empire, science, technology, nation, as
well as about family and racial hierarchies. It was no coincidence that
the most popular of all the “native villages” in the 1880s and 90s, the
period of great imperial French expansion in Senegambia, western
Sudan, and the west coast of Africa from Senegal to Gabon, were the
reconstructed villages of the Dahomeyans and Senegalese.2s Part
human zoo, part performance circus, part laboratory for physical
anthropology, ethnographic expositions were meaning machines that
helped define what it meant to be French as well as what it meant to
be West African in the late nineteenth century.26
As Regnault commented, the ethnographic exposition was the site
of proliferating details. In fact the details, in part, defined the concept
of ethnography itself. The word “ethnography” was first used in the

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1820s in conjunction with geography, and denoted the study of peoples 271
and their relation to the environment, thus embodying the idea that
one could map human groups just as one maps mountains and river^.^'
By the late nineteenth century, in the popular imagination, the word
“ethnographic” had taken on the connotation of “exotic” and “pic-
turesque.” In art, the “ethnographic” manifested itself in a genre called
“la peinture ethnographique,” which referred to painting so detailed
that it seemed to portray the scientific observation of “exotic” customs
(Jean-Lion GCrGme, with his photographic-like detail, was a master
of this genre).28Likewise the use of the term exposition ethnographique
conjured up an image of overabundant detail set forth in photographic
clarity such as those contained in Gir6me’s paintings of slave markets
and snake charmers. The “ethnographic” for both science and popular
culture evoked the image of the encyclopedic tableau vivant depicting
the life of indigenous peoples.
The ethnographic detail coalesced in the spectacularizing construc-
tion of the “ethnographic.” Detail is meant here in three senses. The
first sense is detail as document: Regnault writes of the exposition as
the site of authentic scientific detail. The second sense is detail as
ornament. A good example of this notion was outlined in Adolf Loos’s
“Ornament as Crime”: exotic, ornamental detail was aligned with
decadence, the criminal element, and the Savage.29 The third sense is
detail as index; the anatomical and physiological details of the body
became the classificatory index of race both for anthropologists and
for viewers of ethnographic spectacle.
The work of defining and establishing boundaries between science
and fantasy, truth and fiction, was a major theme in almost all of
Regnault’s writings, and he looked to detail to distinguish the authentic
from the unauthentic. Detail also promised to flesh out the classifica-
tory outline of race.3o In his review of the 1895 ethnographic exposi-
tion, Regnault began by painstakingly describing the different physical
and cultural details of the various ethnic groups at the fair. Immediately
following this lengthy description of ethnic differences, however, he
again invokes the idea of race: he calls the performers “nitgres.”
Difference is articulated, only to be erased by use of the flattening label
“nitgre.” He refers to all the performers, moreover, including those of
Arab ethnicity, as black and ~hildlike.~’ Detail, which possibly could
have led to an understanding of cultural differences, is subsumed by
the ideology of race.
The way in which Regnault distances himself from the performers
when he invokes the anthropological rhetoric of race is indicative of
an extraordinary version of “us versus them” mentality. This mentality
was reinforced at the exposition in the form of voyeurism, and sanc-

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272 tioned simultaneously by scientific knowledge, the evolutionary para-


digm of history, and the imperialist imperative to civilize. The visitor
was in a sense invited to act as a scientist and colonialist, to acquire
knowledge by looking at the body and its habitat. He was also invited
to engage in sexual voyeurism: the exhibition was the site for the
viewing of the unseen. Regnault, for example, described the
Dahomeyan women at the 1893 exposition as seductive: “In their
youth, they are sometimes seductive with their soft, timid and laughing
p h y s i ~ g n o m y . ”Moreover,
~~ Africa and other colonized lands were
often portrayed as Woman in imperialist discourse: eroticism, imperial-
ism, and anthropology were aligned.33
Just as the boundaries of science and popular culture seem to have
been permeable at the fair, boundaries between the observer and the
observed, that is, the exposition performer, were also blurred. The
“fence” was physical as well as psychological: a railing separated the
performers from the visitors, and this railing probably went around
the “villages,” allowing the crowds to gather for special performances.
Looming above the scene was the Eiffel Tower, the ultimate sign of
French technology, progress, and power. The exposition layout also
included a mosque (where nonMuslims could not enter) and a brasserie
(where visitors could mix freely with performer^).^^
The inclusion of the brasserie suggests that the voyeurism of the
exposition was imperfect: spectators could be made aware that the
performers had eyes and voices too. Consider, for example, the space
of interaction between visitor and performer at the fair. Ordinarily, a
fence physically divided the West African performers and the French
visitors, setting up a clear distinction between subject and object,
colonizer and colonized, viewer and viewed. At the brasserie, however,
the boundaries were permeable and interaction was allowed. An ex-
ample of this interaction is found in a review of the 1893 Dahomeyan
Ethnographic Exposition in which Regnault recalled asking a per-
former why there were different shades of skin color among the
Dahomeyans. The answer he received was a question: “Why . . . are
some of you brown-haired, others blond, still others redhead^?"^^ The
answer Regnault received is like a reflected mirror, revealing that the
purported objects of study-the Dahomeyan performers-were also
observers of the French.
The presence of the brasserie suggests what I believe is a more
general theme: part of the fascination that the public had for the fair
was the play with boundaries that it facilitated. First, even as the
exposition strived to construct and address clear subjectivities, and
even as the “picturesque,” the “ethnographic,” and the “detail”
reigned in the arena of spectacle, there were marginal spaces at the

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fair where one could “straddle the fence”: the viewed could also remark 273
upon the French body, there were places where the “specimens” could
not be viewed at all (the mosques), and the very act of voyeurism was
undermined by the constant haranguing by the performers for “un
SO US.''^^ Second, since constructions of the Ethnographic or Savage
embodied all that was taboo to Western society-nakedness, polyg-
amy, fetishism, and cannibalism-white visitors could view at the fair
all that was forbidden, flirting with the boundaries of Self and Ethno-
graphic Other, while at the same time maintaining a distance. The
Ethnographic body also represented biological danger, that which must
be attacked in its very ~orporeality.~’ That threat could be contained
by racial visualization.
The narrative of evolution that slots humans in color-coded catego-
ries, placing the white race at the lead, was scientifically illustrated
through the live, dead, and skeletal bodies of indigenous nonEuropeans
displayed at fairs and museums. History is obfuscated: the native is
shown as being without history, and is described in terms borrowed
from zoology. The history of the circulation of African bodies as
enslaved persons, and the histories of the entwinement of French and
West African politics and economics is erased, replaced by another
form of circulation, that of anthropological spectacle.
Yet there was also the fear of degeneration, fear that the white man
had reached the pinnacle with nowhere to go but down. The “native”
was perceived by science and by popular culture as authentic man,
closer to nature: Regnault, as I explain in the next section, used his
films of West Africans, who were seen as hardier and more agile, in
order to improve the French military march. The Ethnographic was
both biological threat and example of authentic humanity: both aspects
would be essential to cinema’s form of visualizing anthropology.
When the exhibiting of “native villages” was discontinued due to
prohibitive cost, world wars, and the end of imperialism, cinema took
over many of its ideological functions. Cinema, after all is a much less
expensive way of circulating nonwestern bodies in “situ” than is
circulating reconstructed “villages.” Early cinema showed a fascination
for the subject of indigenous, nonEuropean peoples in its proliferation
of travelogues, scientific research films, safari films, scripted narrative
films, and colonial propaganda films. Like ethnography, cinema is also
a topos for the meeting of science and fantasy. Cinema also eliminated
the potentially threatening return-gaze of the performer, offering more
perfect scientific voyeurism. Films about the “customs and manners of
the peoples of X” emphasized the family unit and habitat, as the fair
did. The fence of the fair was now the movie screen, and the subject
positioning of the European viewer was reaffirmed. Finally, cultures

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274 were presented as encapsulated “villages” on film, making ethno-


graphic film, like the ethnographic fair, a superb time machine, inviting
the viewer to travel spatially and temporally, back in evolutionary time
to the “childhood” of modern white man.38

3. The Writing of Race in the Films of Regnault


You can divide humanity into those who squat
and those who sit.
Marcel Mauss, “Les Techniques du corps”
Regnault believed that film was destined to become the ideal positivist,
scientific medium for the study of race. If the fair was the site for
regimenting proliferating ethnographic detail, film was the site where
ethnographic detail could be recorded, magnified, dissected, and re-
played for posterity. Regnault declared:

Cinema expands our vision in time as the microscope has expanded it in


space. It permits us to see facts which escape our senses because they pass
too quickly. It will become the instrument of the physiologist as the micro-
scope has become that of the anatomist. Its importance is as great.39

Regnault’s search for a representational medium that was truly


indexical, one which could capture the body in the fullness of move-
ment, lay behind his interest in live observation at the ethnographic
exposition as well as his interest in and use of film.
We have seen how evolution informed Regnault’s ideas about the
body and movement. The authenticity of the ethnographic exposition,
despite the fact that it was in Paris, was absolute for Regnault, and
this in large part has to do with the fact that he was enthusiastic about
the availability of people to study. For it was the body that was
authentic. Regnault would capture it and inscribe it onto film for future
scientific readers.
For Regnault, film offered not only an improved means of getting
to an index-he thought that the races reveal themselves in movement,
and felt that film could assist him in the study of movement-but a
medium that was also by its nature indexical: like a footprint, film is
a document, testifying that the person filmed had passed in front of
the camera lens. To quote Roland Barthes, film contains “an emana-
tion of the referent.”40 Regnault proclaimed cinema the ultimate ap-
paratus for positivist science:

It provides exact and permanent documents to those who study movements.


The film of a movement is better for research than the simple viewing of

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movement; it is superior, even if the movement is slow. Film decomposes 275


movement in a series of images that one can examine a t leisure while
slowing the movement at will, while stopping it as necessary. Thus it
eliminates the personal factor, whereas a movement, once it is finished,
cannot be recalled except by memory, and this, even put in sequence is not
faithful. All in all, a film is superior to the best description^.^^

It is astonishing how similar this description of film is to Regnault’s


1888 description of craniology. Both technologies are precise, scien-
tific, and eliminate subjective factors. But film is superior even to
craniology: it captures movement. Moreover, unlike the eye, which
fuses successive images, film decomposes movement, and the camera
can capture rapid movements that the eye cannot see.42
Regnault filmed West African and Malagasy men, women, and
children from ethnographic exhibitions, usually alone and in profile,
walking, running, jumping, pounding grain, cooking, carrying children
on their backs, and climbing trees. The tableau of the fair and
Regnault’s own fascination with movement are inscribed into film,
representing scenes that would become the staple for later ethnographic
film. Most of the films that were not exclusively of walking and
running were made on location at the ethnographic exposition: the
setting was an important signifier of authenticity. Filming the move-
ments of a West African performing a task-such as making pottery-
allowed the scientist, according to Regnault, to go back in time, to an
evolutionary origin of pottery.43
Regnault believed that those he called Savage had no language, and
instead spoke through the body in what he called le langage par gestes.
A person of North Sumatra, he wrote, could speak to a Dahomey in
West Africa through this universal language of the body. The gesture,
wrote Regnault, was more important to the “inferior” races than to
so-called Civilized man. The language that film could inscribe was
therefore the language of gestures:

It appears, moreover, unusual to affirm that there exists a science of


gesture as interesting as that of language. However all savage peoples make
recourse to gesture to express themselves; their language is so poor it does
not suffice t o make them understood: plunged in darkness, two savages, as
travelers who often witness this fact affirm, can communicate their
thoughts, coarse and limited though they are.
With primitive man, gesture precedes speech . . . .
The gestures that savages make are in general the same everywhere,
because these movements are natural reflexes rather than conventions like
language. 44

Gesture precedes speech. Thus humanity was divided into not only

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276

Figure 3. Modern print from original chronophotographic negative, Jump By


Three Men (Charles Comte and Ftlix-Louis Regnault, c. 1985,
courtesy of the CinCmathtque FranCaise).

those who sit and those who squat, but those who have language and
those who gesticulate. In many films, the subjects are rendered as mere
silhouettes, pictographs of the langage par gestes. Their faces are
unimportant: it is the body that is the necessary data. And thus
Regnault writes, the “savage” has no real language: the scientist will
inscribe his language-a language par gestes common to all “sav-
ages”-into film. They become hieroglyphs for the language of science:
race is written into film.
In Regnault’s films, bodies are made abstract and mechanized. Detail
is very well-managed. The subjects enter the frame at right and exit
at left, often with a chronometer in front and a white screen in the
back [Figures 3 and 41. The fact that Regnault filmed movements from
different perspectives-the subject is seen from the right, then left, and
then back-reflects the codes of anthropometric photography that
were already well established in the late nineteenth century. For films
of walking and running, Regnault and his colleague Charles Comte
often used a chronometer and a painted scale on the ground to measure
the duration of the subject’s step. Diagrams translating the movements
into oscillating curves were used to test the efficacy of the marche en
flexion, a gait in which one ran o r walked with knees greatly bent, the
body leaning forward in “la marche primitive de l ’ h ~ m a n i t k . ’ ’The
~~

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use of the chronometer, the painted scale at the bottom of the film, 277
and the tightly controlled entrance and exit of each moving subject
attests to Regnault’s belief that chronophotography was a mathemat-
ical and scientific means of studying movement. The camera maintains
a distance, and yet observes from all angles.
Regnault also filmed French military officers walking, running, and
climbing trees. The link between Regnault’s films of French military
officers and those of West Africans is Regnault’s claim that the walk
of the Savage was en flexion-with torso bent forward and knees

Figure 4. Modern print from original chronophotographic negative, Run


(Charles Comte and FClix-Louis Regnault, c. 1895,
courtesy of the CinCmathtque Franiaise).

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278

Figure 5. Illustration by Regnault for his “Le


r6le du cinkma en ethnographie,” La Nature
2866 (1 October 1931): 304. The man seated
in the palanquin is Regnault.

greatly bent-akin to the marche en flexion, a walk that the French


military commandant De Raoul had first espoused for the French
military. Regnault wrote numerous articles on the marche en flexion,
as a means to ameliorate the French military walk. The portrayal of
Westerners, however, generally contrasts sharply with the portrayal of
the West African performers. For the discourse on the “ethnographic”
was linked to that of the National Body: the “ethnographic” repre-
sented a purer, authentic, and healthier man than the overstimulated,
nervous, and weakened modern white urban citizen.46
In the films of West Africans, the bodies often are rendered as
shadows. Wearing tight long suits or just shorts, these men do not
look up and acknowledge the presence of the camera: they are often
filmed in such a way that they are turned into ciphers, their faces

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indistinct. Although the performers walk in the foreground, they often 279
appear to be behind a screen, like shadow puppets. If we compare
these films of West Africans to one of a French man running, we see
that the costume and mise-en-sche are different: the French subject is
dressed in a suit and beret, and is shown running with large steps; his
clothes, body, and face are clearly filmed. His body is substantially
rendered.47
Racial identity is also signified by who gazes at whom. Performers
d o not look at the camera, but the gaze of the scientist is often
acknowledged, if sometimes inadvertently. In two examples, a tall man
in shorts walks from right to left, but the lighting is such that his body
is so dark it becomes a silhouette. On closer examination, however,
one sees a man in a suit, possibly Regnault or an assistant, behind the
screen that serves as the films’ background. The reader of the film is
thus provided with a mirror image: he or she is also in the position of
the s ~ i e n t i s t . ~ ~
In another example, Regnault himself waves at the camera as he is
carried in a palanquin by four Malagasy men [Figure 51. The image
of the French colonizer in a palanquin was a ubiquitous one, especially
in 1895 during the colonization of Madagascar by the French. This
particular film was used as evidence for Regnault’s theories on the en
flexion gait, which he thought to be the natural walk of Savages.
Regnault the scientist tips his hat to the camera, and to the viewer: he
tips his hat to his own power to record these movements of recently
colonized people on film, while the men whose movements are filmed
do not look into the camera. The scientist is both colonizer and
researcher.
In the film entitled “Docteur Regnault marche” [Figure 61, however,
we see a rather unassuming man, head down, wearing a body suit,
whose features are as hard to identify as those of any of the West
African subjects. Cinematically there is little difference between this
example and that of a West African man walking: the scientist himself
has become a specimen. The ideological difference of course is that we
know Regnault’s name and biography; he is not rendered into a
nameless specimen of some anthropological category known as the
Negro or the Savage. Thus the textual accompaniment of the film is
absolutely essential to the interpretation (as were explanatory inter-
titles, and the authoritative voiceover in later ethnographic film).
Although anthropology clearly emphasizes the practice of observa-
tion-the anthropologist observes the cultures of indigenous peoples-
it is above all a signifying practice that deals with words and narrative1
strategies to convince the reader of its ethnographic authority. Images
however are a little more slippery: although the image must contain

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280

Figure 6. Modern print


from original
chronophotographic
negative, Doctor Regnault
Walks (Institut de
Physiologie, c. 1895,
courtesy of M. Eric Vivi6
and the Archives du Film).

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visual signifiers of authenticity, captions are still often needed to 281


explain, convince, and keep order.
Finally, Regnault was one of the first to envision an ever growing
archive of ethnographic images. This vision reflects the anthropological
conceit that the anthropologist can thwart death and time: he can
record vanishing ways of life and store them in his drawer for future
study. Regnault believed that cinema would one day fulfil Auguste
Comte’s positivist dream: cinema would provide unmediated records
of reality for scientific consumption. For Regnault, cinema was supe-
rior to observation, enabling the anthropologist to dissect, replay, and
review movement at will. Hence the importance of the archive to
Regnault. With the film archive, the scientist proclaimed himself or
herself fully in control over time and the image, able to call up
comparisons of movements, techniques, and rituals at will. Regnault’s
model for the archive, however, was not the all-encompassing, alpha-
betically organized encyclopedia, but the topically organized mu-
s e ~ r n .Regnault
~~ was also one of the first to advocate that
ethnographic museums use film and phonograph recordings to aug-
ment and legitimize their material collections. He was probably greatly
influenced in this regard by his SociCtC d’Anthropologie colleague Lion
Azoulay who created one of the first archives of phonograph records
in the ~ o r l d . ~Like
’ the ethnographic exhibition which presented peo-
ples in orderly reconstructed village tableaus, the ethnographic film
archive is a visualizing technology for the taxonomic ranking of peo-
ples.

4. Conclusion
“Amnesia, Error, Indifference, Omission, Uncivil”-subverting the
writing of race is powerfully manifested in the work of certain con-
temporary artists of color like the African-American photographer
Lorna Simpson [Figure 71.” I began this essay by showing how the
“ethnographic” in film works to deny the voice and individuality of
the indigenous subject. The performers in Regnault’s films are meant
to represent not only a typical West African body, but a body typical
of what anthropology called Primitive. Their names and history are
not given: the fact that they are performers from a fair, the colonial
nature of France’s relation to West Africa, etc. Emptied of history,
their bodies are raciafized. The raciafized body in cinema is a construc-
tion denying people of color historical agency and psychological com-
plexity. Individuals are read as metonyms for an entire category of
people, whether it be ethnic group, race, or Savage/Primitive/Third

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282 World. Regnault is both informed by and informs the scientific and
popular circulation of the image of the “ethnographic. ’’ Thus scientific
cinema teaches us how to read bodies: the “ethnographic” squats,
climbs trees differently, carries the colonialist in a palanquin, performs
animal sacrifices, and goes about her affairs bare-breasted. A similar
iconography of race is at work in the construction of Hollywood
cinema stereotypes like the black Mammy or the Chinese dragon lady,
but the racialization that occurs in ethnographic film is particularly
pernicious because it is “scientifically” legitimized, and the subjects of
the film are tied to the evolutionary past.

Figure 7. Mixed art piece, Easy For Who To Say (Lorna Simpson, 1989,
courtesy of the Josh Baer Gallery).

But racialization is not necessarily the product of contempt. Notions


of the native as pathological and savage often coexist with images of
the “noble savage”: Regnault himself believed Europeans to be in
danger of becoming suraffinb, too refined, and he used his films of
West Africans to support his theory that the marche en flexion was
more natural, a healthier way to walk. Whether portrayed as savage,
noble, or simply authentic, however, the “ethnographic” is a product
of the taxonomic imagination of both anthropology and cinema.
What lends ethnographic film its aura of truth is thus the Ethno-
graphic body, coded since Regnault’s time as authentic. Moreover,
these films could not only be used for research into race and evolution,
but to improve the productive body of the capitalist and imperialist
European world: Regnault used films of West Africans to improve the
French military walk. One use value of Regnault’s work was thus war.
In an ironic twist, beginning in World War I, many West African men
were recruited into the French army to serve as the now-famous
tirailleurs. Their bodies were again used, this time as the infantrymen
for French battles. Accordingly, I would like to conclude by going from
one camp-the 1895 Exposition Ethnographique where Regnault
made his films-to another camp-the transit camp for West African

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tirailleurs returning home to Africa depicted in SembZne Ousmane’s 283


and Thierno Saty Sow’s film Camp de Tbiaroye (1987).
In Camp de Tbiaroye, as in Regnault’s films, almost all of the
principal characters are West African. Unlike the performers in
Regnault’s films, however, they are given names, history, psychological
complexity, and agency. These soldiers, like colonized peoples in other
parts of the world, return from World War I1 battles and concentration
camps having learned one very important lesson: how small France is.
Their profound consciousness that “a white corpse, a black corpse,
it’s all the same” leads to their explosion against their oppression as
colonial subjects. It is clear therefore that what distinguishes the genre
of the “ethnographic film” from a film like Camp de Thiaroye is not
the color of the people filmed, but how they are racialized-how, in
other words, the viewer is made to see “anthropology” and not history.

NOTES

This article is a condensed version of a section of my doctoral dissertation,


and a version of a paper delivered at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and
Research on Women. I am grateful to the Pembroke Center and roundtable
participants for their comments and suggestions.
Research for this article was made possible by grants from the Council for
European Studies, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Yale Center for
International Area Studies, and the American Association of University
Women. I thank M. Eric Vivii, the Archives du Film du Centre National de
la Cinimatographie, the Cinimathkque FranCaise, and the Josh Baer Gallery
for permission to reproduce images.
I am indebted to Jean Rouch for his generous aid and advice. I also would
like to thank the following people: Noelle Giret, Vincent Pinel, Alain Marc-
hand, and the late Olivier Meston of the Cinimathkque Franqaise; Michelle
Aubert, Andrei Dyja, and Eric Le Roy of the Archives du Film; Franqoise
Foucault of the Musie de 1’Homme; Jean-Dominique Lajoux of CNRS. I would
especially like to thank Lisa Carnvright, Angela Dalle Vacche, Emilie de
Brigard, and Faye Ginsburg. My views may diverge from those who have
helped me; I take full responsibility for all errors.
1. V.Y. Mudimbe, The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy and the
Order of Knowledge (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University
Press, 1988) 15, from citation in R. I. Rotberg, Africa and Its Explorers
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970).
2. Filix Regnault and Cdt. de Raoul, Comment on marche: Des divers mode
de progression de la supe‘riorite‘du mode en flexion (Paris: Henri Charles-
Lavauzelle, Editeur militaire, 1897). Illustration of man reproduced on p.
23.

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284 3. There is a strong tendency in some of the recent postcolonial criticism of


the representation of nonwestern peoples in literature, popular culture,
and science to ignore the subjectivities of the people represented as “Prim-
itive,” “Savage,” “Negro,” and/or “Oriental.” I do not presume to speak
for these performers: since we have no written record of the thoughts of
these particular performers, and many other indigenous peoples who were
made the object of written and filmic forms of ethnography, I will agree
with Gayatri Chakravortry Spivak that ultimately as a discursive figure
“the subaltern does not speak.” Yet I find the focus on the white anthro-
pologist, writer, or artist in critical works about Primitivism or Savagism
quite disturbing, because indigenous people are still reified as specimens,
metonyms for an entire culture, race, or monolithic condition known as
“Primitiveness.” The problem is compounded by what I describe as
“fascinating cannibalism” (to paraphrase Susan Sontag’s term “fascinat-
ing fascism”), the obsessive consumption of images of a racialized other
known as the Primitive.
4. I will refer to the chronophotography of Regnault as “film,” even though
they were not meant to be projected: they are literally strips of sequential
photographs. For more on film and physiology, see Lisa Cartwright,
“‘Experiments of Destruction’: Cinematic Inscriptions of Physiology,”
Representations 40 (Fall 1992).
5. See especially Emilie de Brigard, “The History of Ethnographic Film,”
Principles of Visual Anthropology, ed. Paul Hockings (The Hague and
Paris: Mouton Publishers, 1975) 1344; Martin Taureg, “The Develop-
ment of Standards for Scientific Films in German Ethnography,” Studies
in Visual Communication 9 (Winter 1983): 19-29; and Jean Rouch, “Le
Film Ethnographique,” Ethnologie Ge‘ne‘rale, ed. Jean Pokier,
Encyclope‘die de la Pleiade, (Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1968) 24: 429-
471.
6. Let me be clear that when I refer to the “ethnographic” in cinema, I do
not mean to implicate all of what others call ethnographic film. Faye
Ginsburg writes that ethnographic film is ideally film that is “intended to
communicate something about that social or collective identity we call
‘culture,’ in order to mediate (one hopes) across gaps of space, time,
knowledge and prejudice.” She argues that media like film and television
made by indigenous peoples, such as the work of the Inuit Broadcasting
Corporation, is a necessary outcome of the “participatory cinema” pro-
duced by ethnographic filmmakers like Jean Rouch beginning in the
1970s. See Faye Ginsburg, “Indigenous Media: Faustian Contract or
Global Village?” Cultural Anthropology 6.1 (February 1991):104. A few
ethnographic filmmakers like Jean Rouch and David and Judith
MacDougall have made increasingly reflexive and collaborative cinema
in an effort to get beyond scientific voyeurism. I am not concerned here
with how best to envision an ideal of ethnographic cinema of the kind
that Rouch and others are pursuing. Instead, I seek to explain what I see

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as the pervasive “racialization” of indigenous peoples in both popular 285


and scientific cinema. The films I am referring to in some way situate their
subjects in a former era; to see these films is to see a nexus between race
and the past.
7. Johannes Fabian, Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its
Object (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983).
8. I drew my information on the history of French anthropology mainly from
the following sources: Elizabeth A. Williams, The Science of Man: An-
thropological Thought and lnstitutions in Nineteenth-Century France
(Ph.D. diss., Indiana University, 1983);Joy Dorothy Harvey, Races Spec-
ified, Evolution Transformed: The Social Context of Scientific Debates
Originating in the Socie‘te‘ d’Anthropologie de Paris 1859-1 902 (Ph.D.
diss., Harvard University, 1983); Donald Bender, “The Development of
French Anthropology,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Science
1 (April 1965): 139-151; and Histoires de l’anthropologie XVle-XlXe
sikcles, ed. Britta Rupp-Eisenreich (Paris: Klincksieck, 1984).
9. Indeed the concept of “nation” became popular at around the same time
as the concepts “race” and “volk,” and these terms in the beginning of
the century were fluidly intertwined: “race” was first used in the late
eighteenth century in natural history but was often used interchangeably
with “nation” and “people.” George W. Stocking, Jr., “Polygenist
Thought in Post-Darwinian French Anthropology,” in Race, Culture and
Evolution: Essays in the History of Anthropology (New York: Free Press,
1968) 42-68.
10. George W. Stocking, Jr. “Bones, Bodies, Behavior,” Bones, Bodies, Be-
havior: Essays on Biological Anthropology in History of Anthropology
(Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1988) 7-8. See also Adam
Kuper, The lnvention of Primitive Society: Transformationsof an Illusion
(London and New York: Routledge, 1988).
11. Harvey 133-138.
12. Paul Broca, Me‘moires de la Socie‘te‘ d’Anthropologie de Paris I1 (1865):
69-204 (quoted and trans. in Harvey 128).
13. For more on pathology see Georges Canguilhem, The Normal and the
Pathological, trans. Carolyn R. Fawcett (New York: Zone Books, 1991).
14. Filix Regnault, Des alte‘rations craniennes dans le rachitisme (Paris: G.
Steinheil, 1888) 12.
15. Lajard and Regnault, “La Venus accroupie dans Part grec,” La Nature
23 (29 June 1895):69-70. Regnault’s interest in the body and movement
preceded that of later anthropologists like Marcel Mauss and Franz Boas.
Mauss wrote that the body was the first instrument of man in “Les
Techniques du corps,” Sociologie et anthropologie (Paris: Presses Uni-
versitaires de France, 1950) 362-386.

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286 16. “Des attitudes du repos dans les races humaines,” Revue Encycfope‘dique
(1896):9.
17. FClix Regnault, “Classifications des sciences anthropologiques,” Revue
anthropofogique (1931): 122. See for example, “Les attitudes de repos
dans Part sino-Japonais,” La Nature 23 (15 July 1895): 105-106;
“Prisentation d’une hotte primitive,” Buffetins de fa Socikte‘
d’anthropofogie de Paris 3 (21 July 1892): 4 7 1 4 7 9 ; and “Statuettes
Ethnographiques,” La Nature 22 (2 June 1894): 49-50.
18. Regnault wrote extensively on “primitive art,” a subject I deal with in my
dissertation. For Regnault on race see, for example “Pourquoi les nZgres
sont-ils noirs? (Etudes sur les causes de la coloration de la peau),” La
Me‘decine Moderne (2 October 1895): 606-607. In later years, however,
Regnault refined his notion of race, developing the idea of ethnie or
language and cultural group as an important index along with race, a
belief which put him at odds with Georges Montandon, a well-known
antisemitic anthropologist and supporter of the Vichy regime in the late
1930s. As early as 1902 he defined ethnie as “une union psychique a
opposer a la resemblance anatomique donnie par le mot race.” “Discus-
sion,” Buffetinsde fa Socie‘te‘de I’Anthropofogie de Paris 3 (3 July 1902):
680-68 1. Also see Jean-Loup Amselle, “Ethnie,” Encycfopoedia Uni-
versafis 8 (Paris: Encyclopoedia Universalis France S.A., 1990): 1971.
19. L. J. B. BCrenger-FCraud, Peuplades 2 4 , quoted in William B. Cohen,
The French Encounter with Africans: White Responses to Blacks, 1530-
1 880 (Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press, 1980) 24 1;
and FClix Regnault, “De la fonction prihensile du pied,” La Nature ( 9
September 1893): 229-231. That the ethnographic body was linked to
other marginal elements in society such as criminals may be seen in the
fact that Regnault’s findings were used by the laboratory of the criminal
anthropologist Cesare Lombroso. See “Le pied prihensile chez les aliinis
et les criminels,” La Nature 1065 (28 October 1893): 339.
20. Charles Letourneau, Sociofogie d’apris f’Ethnographie (Paris: Reinwald,
1880) 4, quoted and translated in Harvey 139.
2 1. FClix Regnault, “Exposition Ethnographique de I’Afrique Occidentale au
Champ-de-Mars a Paris: SCnCgal et Soudan Franqais,” La Nature 23 (17
August 1895): 186.
22. “Un Village ntgre au Champ de Mars,” L’llfustration 2729 (15 June
1895): 508.
23. PetitJournafJune 5, July 14, July 26, August 15, 1895, quoted in William
H. Schneider, An Empire For the Masses: The French Popular Image of
Africa, 1870-1 900 (Westport and London: Greenwood Press, 1982) 169.
24. Paul Greenhalgh, Ephemeral Vistas: The Expositions Universeffes,Great
Exhibitions and World’s Fairs, 1851-1 939 (Manchester, U.K.: Manches-
ter University Press, 1988) 89; and Paul Greenhalgh, “Education, Enter-

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tainment and Politics: Lessons from the Great International Exhibitions,” 287
The New Museology, ed. Peter Vergo (London: Redaktion Books, 1989)
74-98.
25. Cohen 281.
26. The story of the display of indigenous ethnic peoples is incomplete: there
is little written record of the thoughts of the performers, and little record
concerning the biography and aspirations of the promoters of the show.
There are however the accounts of the mass illustrated press, which shed
some light on the general public response to the exhibitions, and the
accounts by scientists such as those of FClix-Louis Regnault.
27. Williams 139.
28. Patricia Mainardi, Art and Politics of the Second Empire: The Universal
Expositions of 1855 and 1867 (New Haven and London: Yale University
Press, 1987) 169.
29. See Adolf Loos, “Ornament as Crime,” The Architecture of Adolf Loos,
eds. Yehuda Safran and Wilfried Wang (London: Arts Council of Great
Britain and the Authors, 1908). On the detail see Naomi Schor, Reading
in Detail: Aesthetics and the Feminine (New York and London: Methuen,
1987). On the detail and historical film see Phil Rosen, “From Document
to Diegesis: Historical Detail and Film Spectacle,” in the forthcoming Past,
Present: Theory, Cinema, History.
30. Religion could be explained in medical and scientific terms. Regnault
suggested, for example, that Jesus was a hysteric. See Hypnotisme, Reli-
gion (Paris: Schleicher Frkres, Editeurs, 1897).
3 1. Regnault, “Exposition Ethnographique” 184.
32. Regnault, “Les DahomCens” 372.
33. Ella Shohat gives a survey of cinema, gender, and colonialism in “Imaging
Terra Incognita: The Disciplinary Gaze of Empire,” Public Culture vol.
3 (1991 Spring): 41-70.
34. “Un Village nttgre” 508.
35. Regnault, “Les DahomCens” 372.
36. The throwing of money by visitors to performers in native villages was a
popular activity. If one imagines a day at the 1895 ethnographic exhibition
one immediately adopts the viewpoint of a French or an African: the fair
addressed viewers as national and racial subjects. But what about those
visitors of mixed heritage who came to the fair, or those performers who
stayed on after the expositions and settled down in Europe or North
America? One wonders about the visitors who were the children of French
colonialist fathers and West African mothers, and who had been sent to
be educated in France. I have no records of their observations, but one
might suppose that if asked to choose, they would have identified with

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288 the French and the Eiffel Tower technology. It is a sad fact that the
exhibitions were so demeaning to Africans that a person of mixed blood
would have had little choice but to identify himself or herself as a French
subject.
37. Frantz Fanon explained the representation of people of African descent
by white society in these terms. See Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White
Masks: The Experiences of a Black Man in a White World, trans. Charles
Lam Markmann (New York: Grove Press, 1967) 163-165.
38. Many of the themes of the fair transferred to film: for example, one finds
several early films showing young nonEuropean children in harbors diving
for money. In addition, films of the world’s fairs were made by practically
all the major commercial film companies like Edison and Pathi.
39. Felix Regnault, “L’Histoire du cinkma, son r61e en anthropologie,” Bul-
letins et me‘moires de la Socie‘te‘d’Anthropologie de Paris 3 (6 July 1922):
65.
40. Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Rich-
ard Howard (New York: Hill and Wang, 1981) 80.
41. Regnault, “L’Histoire du cinema” 64.
42. Regnault, “L’Histoire du cinema” 64.
43. Lajard, and Felix Regnault, “Poterie crue et origine du tour,” Bulletins
de la Socie‘te‘d’anthropologie de Paris 6 (19 December 1895): 734-739.
44. Felix Regnault, “Le langage par gestes,” La Nature 1324 (15 October
1898): 315-317.
45. Felix Regnault, “Des diverses mkthodes de marche et de course,”
L’Illustration (22 February 1896): 155.
46. Thus Regnault’s films must also be considered a form of applied anthro-
pology: one of his principal reasons for filming West Africans and French
soldiers was to prove his theories on how to best ameliorate the French
military walk. One of the main impetuses behind the promotion of this
walk seems to have been the Franco-Prussian War. Regnault claimed that
the German goosestep turned soldiers into automatons because i t was too
fatiguing: the marche en flexion was less tiring, and hence allowed the
soldier to think clearly. See Regnault, “Des diverses methodes de marche
et de course” 155; Regnault and De Raoul, Comment on marche;
Regnault, “La locomotion chez I’homme (Travail de 1’Institut Marey)”
Journal de physiologie et de pathologie ge‘ne‘rale15 (January 19 13):46-6 1.
The CinCmathGque FranCaise has films from the Marey Institute of De
Raoul as well as of other soldiers performing the marche en flexion which
must be classified as the work of Regnault. The titles for the films were
reportedly given by Lucien Bull, Marey’s assistant and director of the
Institut Marey. It is my contention that the above films as well as all of
the H n (Homme negre) series were by Regnault with the help of Charles

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Comte and Commandant de Raoul. Other films by Regnault are in the 289
Collection Jean ViviC at the Archives du Film.
47. This example is “Run with Large Steps” (1895), cat. no. Hn 22
(CinCmath2que Franqaise). It is not reproduced here.
48. These examples belong to the collection of Jean Vivii and are housed at
the Archives du Film, cat. nos. 193 and 197. They are not reproduced
here.
49. “Les MusCes des films,” Biologica 2 (1912): XX; and “Un Musie de
films,” Bulletins et rne‘rnoires de la Socie‘te‘d’anthropologie de Paris 6 (7
March 1912): 95.
50. See Lion Azoulay, “L’Ere nouvelle des sons et des bruits. Musies et
archives phonographiques,” Bulletins de la Socie‘te‘ d’anthropologie de
Paris 1 (3 May 1900): 172-178; and “Liste des phonogrammes compos-
ant le musCe phonographique de la sociiti d’anthropologie de Paris,”
Bulletins de la Socie‘te‘d’anthropologie de Paris 3 (3July 1902): 652-656.
51. As quoted from Lorna Simpson’s Easy For Who To Say (1989),a won-
derful counterpoint to Regnault’s writing of race.

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