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Paperback | $31.00 Trade | £21.95 | ISBN: 9780262511339 | 314 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 45 illus.| February 2003

Death's Showcase

The Power of Image in Contemporary Democracy


This is a book about the public display of death in contemporary culture. It consists of a series of essays on specific cases in which death is displayed in museums and in photography. The essays focus mainly on representations of violence and death in events in recent Israeli history, including the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestinian Intifada, and on the visual presence of traumatic events in Israeli culture throughout the twentieth century. They show how images of these events both shape and aestheticize the viewer's experience of death.

The book offers a new reading of the work of Walter Benjamin, particularly his essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." Engaging the disciplinary perspectives of philosophy, art history, cultural studies, and photographic theory, the book also draws upon the work of such writers as Jean Baudrillard, Pierre Bourdieu, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Jürgen Habermas, Jean-François Lyotard, and Jean-Luc Nancy.

About the Author

Ariella Azoulay teaches visual culture and contemporary philosophy at the Program for Culture and Interpretation, Bar Ilan University. She is the author of Once Upon A Time: Photography Following Walter Benjamin and Death's Showcase: The Power of Image in Contemporary Democracy, winner of the 2002 Infinity Award for Writing presented by the International Center for Photography for excellence in the field of photography (MIT Press, 2001).


"A book of both profound and theoretical weight and immediate social resonance.", James Cunning Holland, Afterimage

"Azoulay has an eye for seeking engaging artwork and combining theoretical tools.", Doris Bittar, Aljadid