{CANCELED} Baudelaire’s Stereoscope: Photography, Prophecy, History


In his 1859 Salon on “The Modern Public and Photography,” Baudelaire famously denounced photography as a threat to the realm of art. But his rhetoric also grants it a power that is hallucinatory, referentially unstable, politically suspect, and temporally vertiginous. This lecture argues that Baudelaire’s depiction of the stereoscope, as a device that transforms the “hungry eyes” of the modern masses into the unwitting purveyors of an inhuman gaze, is linked to the images of those thousands who lost their heads to the guillotine in the terror. It thereby anticipates and even challenges key features of Walter Benjamin’s later claims about Baudelaire's relation to photography, the decline of the aura, and changes in the structure of experience. 

Elissa Marder is a professor of French and comparative literature at Emory University and is also affiliated with the departments of philosophy, women’s studies, and psychoanalysis. She has published a number of works on the intersections of French literature, media theory, gender studies, and psychoanalysis, including The Mother in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (2012) and Time for Baudelaire (2014).

Sponsored by the division of literature and languages and the German department. Free and open to the public.

The college is following the advice of Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the CDC for mass gatherings and large community events to help protect the health of event participants and our community. Some programs and events at Reed may be canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 prevention. Prior to attending an event, we strongly encourage you to check Reed’s events calendar listing for the most current information on the status of each event. Contact the office in charge of the event or Conference & Events Planning with questions.


Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 4:30pm to 6:30pm

Performing Arts Building, 104
3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202-8199

Event Type



Open to the Public, Faculty, Students, Alumni, Staff

Comparative Literature, Division of Literature & Languages, German
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