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Title: 'Wish you were here' : aspects, agencies, and legacies of the landscapes of the picture postcard
Author: Price, Ceri Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 8543
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis takes as its subject the ephemeral, yet enduring, picture postcard and asks why this often overlooked souvenir object, more or less in its original incarnation, still resonates with us 120 years after the first illustrated card was posted. I demonstrate that, far from being merely a memento, the picture postcard is a uniquely complicated, multi-layered, vibrant technology which provides an exciting and rich resource for a timely examination in the early decades of the twenty-first century. I approach the card through the themes of visualities, materialities and mobilities and begin by locating the origins of the postcard and exploring how the card enframes themes of the imaginaries of place, showing how this simple object first drew the parties to it into the networks to underscore their identities as imperial subjects. I then follow the lineage of the postcard into the latter decades of the twentieth century, to consider the mutating emotional geographies evoked by the imagery of the card and how we use these to script our self-images. Having considered its visual aspects, I move on to examine the postcard as an enlivened performative object and as a more-than-secular relic of the absent - whether this be a Holy one or a loved one. A multi-scalar appreciation of the networks of the card follows, demonstrating the ways in which this apparently inconsequential postal technology worked at the global, the local and the intimate level of mobilities and immobilities. The thesis ends by tracking the grammars of the Victorian postcard into the computer mediated communication technologies of today and tomorrow, showing how these syntaxes have indelibly etched themselves not only upon our shifting interactions with place, space and time but also upon the precursive logics of our human/non-human interactions and the consequent re-shaping of our subjectivities as global citizens.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available