Practices of Photography: Circulation & Mobility in the Nineteenth Century Mediterranean

A public lecture by Michèle Hannoosh
Professor of French & Faculty Lead of the Mediterranean Initiative
University of Michigan

Saturday, November 5, 2016
5:00 pm
105 Kemeny

Recent theoretical work on the Mediterranean has emphasized the sea as an agent of ‘connectivity’ over a highly fragmented space, bringing peoples, goods, languages, and ideas into contact. Early photography in the Mediterranean manifests this connectivity and mixedness across the whole field of its practice: among photographers, sitters, printers, dealers, consumers, patrons, and even the photographs themselves. Focusing on the eastern Mediterranean, this article treats early photography in its ‘Mediterranean’ context: located within a space of multiple languages, ethnicities, and religions, of personal and commercial networks between cities and across borders, and of spatial and social circulation and exchange. Such an approach complicates the two prevailing scholarly narratives of Mediterranean photography: one based on place, nationality, or ethnicity; the other on Orientalism. Seen in this light, the early history of photography in the Mediterranean may have implications for understanding the ways in which modernization took hold and operated in the region.

Presented by the Leslie Center for the Humanities and the Department of French & Italian as part of the international symposium, Critically Mediterranean.

Michèle Hannoosh is professor of French in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan, where, since 2010, she has also been the faculty coordinator of the interdisciplinary presidential cluster on “The Mediterranean Perspective on Global History and Culture.” She is the author of Parody and Decadence: Laforgue’s Moralités légendaires (1989), Baudelaire and Caricature: From the Comic to an Art of Modernity (1992), and Painting and the Journal of Eugène Delacroix (1995). She is the editor of Eugène Delacroix’s correspondence, Eugène Delacroix : nouvelles lettres (2000), and the two-volume critical edition of his diary, Eugène Delacroix : journal (2009). She is coeditor of the journal Word & Image.