'We Fighters on the Outposts’: Suffragettes, visual culture and Empire, 1889-1913

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


This chapter explores the role of lantern slide performances in enabling female campaigners to define a new vision of citizenship through the Australian lectures of American reformer Jessie Ackermann (c. 1857–1951) and Adelaide-born Muriel Lilah Matters (1877–1969). Ackermann’s popular and influential performances drew upon a well-established evangelical missionary visual tradition. By contrast, Matters capitalised on her status as an enfranchised Australian citizen in travelling to London in 1905, where she became famous for staging public ‘stunts’, before returning to Australia in 1910 to lecture about the ‘thrilling and humorous’ episodes of the British women’s movement. These very different figures map changing ideas about a shared, new imperial identity for women, and demonstrate the nexus between race and gender in defining citizenship at the crucial moment of federation and nationhood. Further, as popular public performances, their lantern slide lectures contributed to a shared global visual economy that forged links between national women’s movements, including suffrage campaigns, by facilitating the mutual and recursive participation of these dispersed communities. The mobility and fluidity of these campaigners’ illustrated performances enabled white women to connect in solidarity with others across the empire, vicariously experiencing and identifying with a new, expanding category of female citizen.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Magic Lantern at Work
Subtitle of host publicationWitnessing, Persuading, Experiencing and Connecting
EditorsMartyn Jolly, Elisa deCourcy
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutlege, Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781000036459
ISBN (Print)9780429317576
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge Series in Cultural History


Dive into the research topics of ''We Fighters on the Outposts’: Suffragettes, visual culture and Empire, 1889-1913'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this