Transcending Ethnicity through Photography: Representing the Cham

Claire Sutherland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Downloads (Pure)


This article explores how photographs selected from an archive represent the Cham ethnic group. It argues that portrait photographs provide a useful analytical focus for critiquing ethnonational categories and their visual representations. Cham live across Southeast Asia, speak a Malayo-Polynesian language and exemplify the global and protracted nature of forced displacement. Little unites them beyond their self-identification as such, and their minority status in every country they call home. The article examines the extent to which selected photographs engage with and challenge dominant depictions of Cham ethnicity as a basis for considering an alternative approach to belonging that is not bound to the dichotomy of self and other. It concludes that the materiality of the sea holds greater potential to capture the emotional and atemporal elements of living as a migrant or an ethnic minority than analyses trapped within the linear and bounded spatiotemporal frames that create those conceptual categories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-145
Number of pages19
JournalAsian Ethnicity
Issue number1
Early online date23 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Transcending Ethnicity through Photography: Representing the Cham'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this