Amy Matthewson

Amy Matthewson

""

PH Student at SOAS University of London. My research examines representations of China and the Chinese in the popular British satirical magazine 'Punch' during the Victorian era. The aim of this research is to question and evaluate the production of knowledge through representations in textual and visual satire as well as investigate the economic, political and socio-cultural conditions that produced this narrative. Punch provides an interesting case study as it occupied a central role in the evolution of the image Victorians had of themselves and the caricatures of the Chinese form a useful counterpoint. Previous scholarship examining visual representations of China and the Chinese in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries focus primarily on the creation and maintenance of stereotypes that were familiar to Britons. Those who incorporate cartoons into historical research tend to select a sample in order to buttress an argument; however, by examining Punch’s series of cartoons throughout the Victorian period, we gain a more comprehensive understanding of the complicated and often contradictory nature of this visual source.Further complicating the investigation of cartoons is the careful considerations required when reading captions or accompaniments and exploring the tensions that may exist between image and text. This research argues that the images Punch created present alternate symbols of China within the British imaginaries and thereby demonstrate a more nuanced form of the country and Britain’s engagement with it.

Professione PH Student