Constructing Colonialism: The power of the written word

This exhibition brings to light the power of language, highlighting the ways that colonisers utilised it in order to subordinate and ‘other’ the colonised.

Shocking at times, and subtle at others, we invite you to investigate the impact of words.

Curated by MA students from the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural StudiesConstructing Colonialism: The Power of the Written Word displays extracts from the Biodiversity Heritage Library — including photographs, maps and text, created by the colonizer.

We encourage you to look closely at how language is crafted to subordinate the colonized, to tell a single story about them. Indigenous peoples’ histories and identities were literally rewritten; join us as we dismantle colonial language of power and domination.

Visit the online exhibition

Constructing Colonialism: The power of the written word is part of a wider series of exhibitions and projects undertaken by MA students as part of an Interpretations course module.


The Mongoloids of Europe and Asia in Peoples of Asiatic Russia (p. 24), Waldemar Jochelson, 1928. Copyright American Museum of Natural History Library.