Gradhiva n°11


Great men seen from below

May 2010

Special issue edited and presented by Julien Bonhomme and Nicolas Jaoul

This series of articles analyses the image of great men from a new perspective. In contrast with the growing body of work dedicated to the study of official iconography, this series attempts to shift our perspective in order to examine how images of statesmen are manipulated in ways which simultaneously draw on and break with the official repertoire. This change in perspective allows us to see these great men not as they appear in their official grandeur, “from above”, but as they are seen by their subordinates, “from below”. These popular uses of political icons involve an often ambiguous game with the world of officialdom. They may seek to capture, cannibalise, mock, accommodate or tame power through its icons. In short, popular uses of these images of great men are ultimately acts of invention to which the official model is not impervious.

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Special issue: Great men seen from below

  • Grands hommes vus d’en bas. L’iconographie officielle et ses usages populaires, by Julien Bonhomme and Nicolas Jaoul 
  • Ambedkar statues in India. Handicraft replicas of a monument and subordinate uses of officialdom, by Nicolas Jaoul
  • Great soul seeks made-to-measure body. Anima in general and Gandhi’s doppelganger in particular, by Emmanuel Grimaud
  • Chirac’s mask and de Gaulle’s dance. Ritual images of the “White Man” in Gabon, by Julien Bonhomme
  • The vexed truths of the Lincoln Totem, by Nicolas Menut
  • The hope poster. Obama as a Giant and a virus, by Béatrice Fraenkel
  • Portrait of Che Guevara. How an icon is given voice, by Frédéric Maguet

Studies and essays

  • Construction of a collective gaze: the National Heritage database, by Nathalie Heinich
  • From Golgotha to tzompantli. “Aztec” crystal skulls, by Pascal Mongne
  • Mokomokai at the Juan B. Ambrosetti Ethnographic Museum (1910-2004), by Andrea Pegoraro
  • A Lifetime’s fieldwork in Mexico: the Stresser-Péan collections in the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, by Anne-Solène Rolland et Fabienne de Pierrebourg

Scientific column


  • 240 pages in 20 x 27 cm format
  • 108 illustrations
  • ISBN: 978 2 35744 025 8
  • 20 €