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.
|Title of host publication||The Magic Lantern at Work|
|Subtitle of host publication||Witnessing, Persuading, Experiencing and Connecting|
|Editors||Martyn Jolly, Elisa deCourcy|
|Place of Publication||New York|
|Publisher||Routlege, Taylor & Francis Group|
|Publication status||Published - 22 Jan 2020|
|Name||Routledge Series in Cultural History|