Ariella Azoulay

Ariella is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University and the author of Death's Showcase: the Power of Image in Contemporary Democracy (MIT Press).

  • The Civil Contract of Photography

    The Civil Contract of Photography

    Ariella Azoulay

    An argument that anyone can pursue political agency and resistance through photography, even those with flawed or nonexistent citizenship.

    In this compelling work, Ariella Azoulay reconsiders the political and ethical status of photography. Describing the power relations that sustain and make possible photographic meanings, Azoulay argues that anyone—even a stateless person—who addresses others through photographs or is addressed by photographs can become a member of the citizenry of photography. The civil contract of photography enables anyone to pursue political agency and resistance through photography.

    Photography, Azoulay insists, cannot be understood separately from the many catastrophes of recent history. The crucial arguments of her book concern two groups with flawed or nonexistent citizenship: the Palestinian noncitizens of Israel and women in Western societies. Azoulay analyzes Israeli press photographs of violent episodes in the Occupied Territories, and interprets various photographs of women—from famous images by stop-motion photographer Eadweard Muybridge to photographs from Abu Ghraib prison. Azoulay asks this question: under what legal, political, or cultural conditions does it become possible to see and to show disaster that befalls those who can claim only incomplete or nonexistent citizenship?

    Drawing on such key texts in the history of modern citizenship as the Declaration of the Rights of Man together with relevant work by Giorgio Agamben, Jean-François Lyotard, Susan Sontag, and Roland Barthes, Azoulay explores the visual field of catastrophe, injustice, and suffering in our time. Her book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the disasters of recent history—and the consequences of how these events and their victims have been represented.

    • Hardcover $36.95 £25.95
    • Paperback $24.95 £20.00
  • Death's Showcase

    Death's Showcase

    The Power of Image in Contemporary Democracy

    Ariella Azoulay

    An interdisciplinary exploration of the visual presence of death in contemporary culture.

    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.

    • Hardcover $44.00 £30.95
    • Paperback $31.00 £24.00

Contributor

  • Sensible Politics

    Sensible Politics

    The Visual Culture of Nongovernmental Activism

    Meg McLagan and Yates McKee

    The interaction of politics and the visual in the activities of nongovernmental activists.

    Political acts are encoded in medial forms—punch holes on a card, images on a live stream, tweets about events unfolding in real time—that have force, shaping people as subjects and forming the contours of what is sensible, legible, and visible. In doing so they define the terms of political possibility and create terrain for political acts.

    Sensible Politics considers the constitutive role played by aesthetic and performative techniques in the staging of claims by nongovernmental activists. Attending to political aesthetics means focusing not on a disembodied image that travels under the concept of art or visual culture, nor on a preformed domain of the political that seeks subsequent expression in media form. Instead it requires bringing the two realms together into the same analytic frame.

    A diverse group of contributors, from art historians, anthropologists, and political theorists to artists, filmmakers, and architects, considers the interaction of politics and the visual in such topics as the political consequences of a photograph taken by an Israeli soldier in a Palestinian house in Ramallah; AIDS activism; images of social suffering in Iran; the “forensic architecture” of claims to truth; and the “Make Poverty History” campaign. Transcending disciplines, they trace a broader image complex whereby politics is brought to visibility through the mediation of specific cultural forms that mix the legal and the visual, the hermeneutic and the technical, the political and the aesthetic. Their contributions offer critical insight into the practices of mediation whereby the political becomes manifest.

    • Hardcover $37.95 £30.00
  • The Power of Inclusive Exclusion

    The Power of Inclusive Exclusion

    Anatomy of Israeli Rule in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

    Adi Ophir, Michal Givoni, and Sari Hanafi

    Groundbreaking essays by leading Israeli and Palestinian scholars analyze the system of Israeli power in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

    On the eve of its fifth decade, the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories can no longer be considered a temporary aberration. Israel's control over Palestinian life, society, space and land has become firmly entrenched while acquiring more sophisticated and enduring forms. The Power of Inclusive Exclusion analyzes the Israeli occupation as a rationalized system of political rule. With essays by leading Palestinian and Israeli scholars, a comprehensive chronology, photographs, and original documents, this groundbreaking book calls into question prevalent views of the occupation as a skewed form of brutal colonization, a type of Jewish apartheid, or an inevitable response to terrorism. The writers address the fundamental and contemporary dimensions of the occupation regime—its unpredictable bureaucratic apparatus, the fragmentation of space and regulation of movement, the intricate tapestry of law and regulations, the discriminatory control over economic flows and the calculated use of military violence. The Power of Inclusive Exclusion uncovers the structural logic that sustains and reproduces the occupation regime. In a time when military occupations are emerging globally, political disasters abound, and protracted control over groups of noncitizens has been normalized, The Power of Inclusive Exclusion provides a new set of categories crucial to our understanding of emergency regimes and identifies what is at stake for an informed and timely opposition.

    Contributors Caroline Abu-Sada, Gadi Algazi, Ariella Azoulay, Orna Ben-Naftali, Yael Berda, Hilla Dayan, Leila Farsakh, Dani Filc, Michal Givoni, Mira Givoni, Neve Gordon, Aeyal M. Gross, Sari Hanafi, Ariel Handel, Keren Michaeli, Adi Ophir, Ronen Shamir, Yehuda Shenhav, Eyal Weizman

    • Hardcover $38.95 £30.00