Author Archives: Carolyn J. Dean

About Carolyn J. Dean

is professor of history and French at Yale University. She is the author of several books, most recently The Fragility of Empathy after the Holocaust (Cornell University Press, 2004) and Aversion and Erasure: The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust(Cornell University Press, 2010). She is currently working on a project about the history of the concept of bearing witness.

Atrocity Photographs, Dignity, and Human Vulnerability

. . . the dignity of the victims cannot be “given by the photographer” . . . ; it must inhere in their own stoicism or defiance, and it is, in a sense, their gift to us. —John Benthall1 Harrowing images of death, injury, and of people in various states of distress, terror, and vulnerability circulated by humanitarian organizations, memorial museums, and exhibits seek to encourage empathy with disempowered victims. Such images, in the form of amateur snapshots, photojournalism, and art photography of atrocities, are Continue reading → Continue reading →