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Photo: Annette Hornischer

Professor of Modern Culture and Media and of Comparative Literature, Brown University

John P. Birkelund Fellow in the Humanities - Class of Spring 2022

Ariella Aïsha Azoulay holds a dual appointment in the Department of Modern Culture and Media and the Department of Comparative Literature at Brown University. She is a film essayist and independent curator of archives and exhibitions. Her research and recent book, Potential History (Verso, 2019), concern key political concepts/institutions: archive, sovereignty, plunder, art, human rights, return and repair. Potential history, a concept and an approach she has developed over the last decade, has far-reaching implications for the fields of political theory, archival formations, and photography studies as well as for the reversal of imperial violence. Azoulay studied at the Université Paris VIII and received her DEA from the École des hautes études en sciences sociales and PhD from Tel Aviv University’s Cohn Institute. Her books include Civil Imagination: The Political Ontology of Photography (Verso, 2012), From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction and State Formation, 1947-1950 (Pluto Press, 2011), The Civil Contract of Photography (Zone Books, 2008), and (with Adi Ophir) The One State Condition: Occupation and Democracy between the Sea and the River (Stanford, 2012). Among her films are Un-Documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder (2019) and Civil Alliances, Palestine, 47-48 (2012). Her exhibitions include Errata (Tapiès Foundation, 2019; HKW, Berlin, 2020), Enough! The Natural Violence of New World Order (F/Stop photography festival, Leipzig, 2016), and Act of State 1967-2007, (Centre Pompidou, 2016; Arquivo Municipal de Lisboa Fotografico, 2020).

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