Head Hunter(s)

Working Definition:

Commonly used by American colonial figures and anthropologists alike, the term head hunter was used to describe a practice, among some Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines, of taking part of the head of an adversary during conflict. This custom became synonymous with sensationalized and racist depictions of Indigenous peoples of the Cordillera, specifically those who were exhibited in human fairs around the world under the name “Igorot.” Throughout the photographic collections associated with Dean Worcester, head hunting is documented and, in a number of cases, staged with fake remains for the camera as a visual cue for primitiveness.

Related Terms:

Suggestions for Further Reading:

Mark Rice, Dean Worcester’s Fantasy Islands: Photography, Film, and the Colonial Philippines (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2014).