GER 538: Photography, Race, and Genocide

GER 538: Photography, Race, and Genocide


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This course explores the role of photography in the context of the racialized politics of genocides and their aftermaths. The course aims to critically examine photographic evidence of genocidal violence, revealing the long shadow of modern genocides from colonialism, to the Holocaust, the Armenian, Cambodian, Rwandan genocides, to the present. At the intersection of modern constructs of race as they culminate in genocidal violence, the course investigates the political and ethical potential of photography. Topics include: the spectrality of photography and its origins (W. Benjamin, Barthes, Flusser, Sontag, Batchen); the civil contract of photography (Azoulay); atomic light (Lippit); studies in black and white (Sheehan); constructs of race (Kant, Nietzsche, Fanon, Bernasconi, Moten); modern genocides (Kiernan); memory’s edge and after-images (Young, Didi-Huberman); photography in film and literature: Hiroshima mon amour (Resnais); Ararat (Egoyan), The Photographer (Jablonski), Austerlitz (Sebald); The Missing Picture (Penh); race after technology (R. Benjamin).


Arts and Humanities