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Potential History: Ariella Azoulay in Conversation with Teju Cole

Date Nov 21, 2019
Type Panel

Brown University professor Ariella Azoulay discusses her new book, Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism, with writer and photographer Teju Cole.

In Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism (fall 2019), Ariella Azoulay forces us to reckon with photography’s active, not simply observational, role in the history of imperialism. In dialogue with writer and photographer Teju Cole, Azoulay will discuss her practice of what she calls “potential history,” a way of seeing the world that argues for an account of photography's origin, history, practice, and future as part of the imperial world we continue to live in.


Ariella Aïsha Azoulay is a professor of comparative literature and modern culture and media at Brown University, as well as a curator and documentary filmmaker. Her many books include The Civil Contract of Photography and Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology of Photography. She has curated exhibits for galleries and museums worldwide.

Teju Cole is a novelist, photographer, critic, curator, and the author of five books. He was the photography critic of the New York Times Magazine from 2015 until 2019. He is currently the Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of creative writing at Harvard.