Photography in Visual Francophone Studies
The tendency to photograph an object has been discussed by Walter Benjamin as a means of coming closer to reality through its reproduction. The idea of a copy as being more important than the real thing begs the question of how we use images to mediate our relationship to reality and why.
In this class we will explore this curious paradox, looking at how French and Francophone authors and artists of the 20th and 21st centuries have used photography —as a concept or in practice— to represent or trouble our perception of reality. Through the study of novels, critical texts, and works of art we will assess how photography has become integral to our understanding of visual francophone studies in modernist and post-modernist reflections on war, colonialism, and identity. We will explore along the way how the medium of digital photography mediates our experience of the francophone world today. Our class will include a visit to the Ackland museum of Art. In French.