This is a book about the public display of death in contemporary culture. It consists of a series of essays on specific cases in which death is displayed in museums and in photography. The essays focus mainly on representations of violence and death in events in recent Israeli history, including the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestinian Intifada, and on the visual presence of traumatic events in Israeli culture throughout the twentieth century. They show how images of these events both shape and aestheticize the viewer's experience of death.The book offers a new reading of the work of Walter Benjamin, particularly his essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Engaging the disciplinary perspectives of philosophy, art history, cultural studies, and photographic theory, the book also draws upon the work of such writers as Jean Baudrillard, Pierre Bourdieu, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Jurgen Habermas, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and Jean-Luc Nancy.
Denise M. Dudzinski, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the Departmentof Medical History and Ethics at the University of WashingtonSchool of Medicine. She was a Senior Fellow in Clinical and ResearchEthics at Vanderbilt University and Fellow in TransplantEthics and Policy for the Vanderbilt Transplant Center. She has recentlypublished in Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics.