Do photos inspire us, mobilize us, stir our sense of compassion? Or, do they detach us, immunize us, de-sensitize us to the pain of others? In the age of digital media and round-the clock humanitarian crises, these questions are more relevant than ever. But they are not new. They go back to the origins of photography and have shaped the way we have viewed war from the nineteenth century to the carnage in Syria. This lecture will take a tour of the great debate about how we regard the suffering of strangers.
Jeremy Adelman is the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History and the Director of the Global History Lab at Princeton University. Having lived and worked in seven countries and four continents, he has degrees from the University of Toronto, the London School of Economics (1985) and completed a doctorate in modern history at Oxford University (1989). He is the author or editor of ten books, including most recently Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman (2013), a chronicle of one of the twentieth century’s most original thinkers. He has been the recipient of British Council, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships, as well as the American Council Learned Societies Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship.