Yale School of Art
1156 Chapel Street, POB 208339
New Haven, Connecticut, 06520-8339
(203) 432-2600


A lecture by Ariella Azoulay

Wednesday October 11 at 7PM E.I.K., 32 Edgewood Avenue, New Haven

In late spring 1945, when the war in Europe was declaredly over, more than 100,000 German women were raped in Berlin, most of them by soldiers of the Red Army. Many of the recently published books on this time period include a significant collection of photographs, however none relate to the numerous cases of rape. The photographic archive illustrates the absence of photographs of rape, but also reveals a vocabulary that could help identify the existence of rape in accessible photographs. Most of these of rapes were not hidden or covered up—their rapid accumulation shaping life in Berlin in the course of the first few weeks after the Wehrmacht surrendered. How do we account for the fact that records of rape are not a part of the visual archive? More precisely, how does one reconstruct the archival conditions or algorithm that made this evaporation of a massive phenomenon go unnoticed? In the absence of immediately identifiable images of rape, the 1950s text A Woman in Berlin will be used as a point of departure for tracing the visual record of massive rape, creating a key to read certain photographs previously overlooked as related to rape.

Last edited by: Sarah Stevens-Morling
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Ariella Azoulay, Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Comparative Literature, Brown University, documentary film director and independent curator of archives and exhibitions. Azoulay’s research and forthcoming book focus on potential history of key political concepts-institutions: archives, sovereignties, art, revolutions and human rights. Potential history, a concept and an approach that she has developed over the last decade, has far-reaching implications for the fields of political theory, knowledge formations and visual culture. Her books include: Civil Imagination: The Political Ontology of Photography (Verso, 2012) and The Civil Contract of Photography (Zone Books, 2008). Her first photographic archive Act of State 1967-2007 is part of the Centre Pompidou collection and accessible to researchers.

Last edited by: Sarah Stevens-Morling
Edit access: Sysop