EU486      Half Unit
Imaging Violence, Imagining Europe

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Esra Ozyurek Baer CBG 7.11 and Dr Eray Cayli CBG 7.11


This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe and MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe (LSE & Sciences Po). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course concerns the ways in which European artists have represented violence and catastrophe throughout the history of modernity, which is understood here to stretch between the Enlightenment and the present. It explores how these representations have shaped imaginations of Europe as the global mediator of conflict and have informed conceptualizations of violence and culture through each other. The course proceeds chronologically through periods of modern history, beginning with the High Enlightenment (mid-18th century) and culminating in the present, while also adopting a thematic focus in approaching each period. As well as familiarising students with the ways in which violence and catastrophe have been aestheticized, the course attends to the ethical and political issues involved in this aestheticization. It does so through the study of particular cases pertaining to each theme and/or historical period being explored. These cases may come from painting, photography, film, performance, architecture, design and food, and which may involve as and when relevant and logistically possible, visits to related London sites such as museums and galleries.


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

The formative component of this course comprises slides and outline (prepared individually) in the case of presentations, and a research question and long abstract in the case of essays.  Students are required to come to class having read the weekly texts and be prepared to discuss them at length.

Indicative reading

  • Susan Sontag (1977) On Photography. New York: Picador.
  • Paul Virilio (1989) War and Cinema: The Logistics of Perception. London and New York: Verso. 
  • John Taylor (1998) Body Horror: Photojournalism, Catastrophe and War. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Susan Sontag (2003) Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Picador.
  • Ariella Azoulay (2003) Death's Showcase: The Power of Image in Contemporary Democracy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Ariella Azoulay (2008) The Civil Contract of Photography. New York: Zone Books.
  • Susan Sliwinski (2011) Human Rights in Camera. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Liam Kennedy and Caitlin Patrick (2014) The Violence of the Image. London: IB Tauris.
  • Forensic Architecture (2014) Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth. Berlin: Sternberg Press.
  • Allen Feldman (2015) Archives of the Insensible: Of War, Photopolitics, and Dead Memory. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.


Essay (80%, 4000 words) in the ST.
Presentation (20%) in the LT.

The presentation will be 20 minutes including a 5-min Q&A session in the final week of LT (presentations might have to be in pairs or groups of three depending on class size).

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication