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Glass plates
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KAGA, Africa, Maps

This glass plate originates from the archives of the Royal Geographical Society of Antwerp (KAGA), which is part of the Special Collections of the University of Antwerp's university library. From 1876, this society organised numerous lectures by explorers, geographers and other scientists. At that time, lantern lectures, where images were projected onto glass plates, were extraordinarily popular as a mass medium. The depictions of distant, exotic lands, which were inaccessible to many Belgians, drew considerable interest.

The magic lantern was ubiquitous by the end of the 19th century, but the lantern presentations within the KAGA were notably exclusive. The members of this society belonged to the affluent economic class in Antwerp, which played a significant role in the colonisation of Central Africa. The lectures served to disseminate information about the colony, while also acting as networking events where the wealthy Antwerp elite spent their leisure time. The lantern slide with the map of Africa reflects the KAGA's desire to understand 'Africa' as an object. They held the lectures under the authority of 'science' and 'geography'. Numerous photographs from Central Africa were projected during these occasions, which are also preserved in the archive. At the time, the camera enjoyed a certain aura of objectivity, which underscored the importance of these 'authentic' images.

Universiteitsbibliotheek Antwerpen
Rights status
Copyright protection not determined
  • Inventory number cp: IV.2.276
  • Format: glass plate
  • Format version: lantern slide

Source: Unknown, Date unknown, KAGA, Africa, Maps, Universiteitsbibliotheek Antwerpen, Copyright protection not determined