EU486      Half Unit
Imaging Violence, Imagining Europe

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

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

Since the late 18th century, a growing body of European cultural production has focused on raising awareness about suffering by aestheticizing it. How has this production shaped customary understandings of the relationship between violence and culture and, in so doing, imagined Europe and Europeanness? Specifically, how has it informed widespread understandings of violence and culture being mutually antithetical, and imaginations of Europe and Europeanness premised upon this antithesis? What are the critical responses with which these understandings and imaginaries have been met, and how might they be entangled in the very object of their criticism due to their approach to the relations between power, ethics, and aesthetics? This course explores these questions through contemporary artistic practice, focusing especially on its responses to colonialism, racism, imperialism, patriarchy, and Anthropocene(s). The teaching format comprises seminars, requiring everyone to show up having read the weekly texts, having reflected on them and having prepared to discuss them at length during the seminar. As and when relevant and logistically possible, seminars may involve visits to museums and galleries in London.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 25 hours across Michaelmas Term. The teaching will be delivered this year through a combination of online and on-campus formats (or if required, online only). This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term.

Formative coursework

The formative component of coursework comprises the following:

- a research question and long abstract in preparation for essays, submitted at the end of reading week;

- a new and improved research question and long abstract in preparation for essays, presented orally and in person the final week of term.

In addition to the above, students are required to come to class every week having read the weekly texts and 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 (100%, 5000 words) in the LT.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2020/21: 15

Average class size 2020/21: 15

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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