The Ethics of Seeing: Photography and Twentieth-Century German HistoryHistory Professor Jennifer Evans has edited a new volume entitled “The Ethics of Seeing: Photography and Twentieth-Century German History“. In addition to being a co-editor with Paul Betts and Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann, Prof. Evans also wrote the introduction “Photography as an Ethics of Seeing” and a chapter entitled “Seeing Subjectivity: Erotic Photography and the Optics of Desire.” The book, available now from Berghahn Books, includes a prologue and epilogue by two excellent specialists in photography, Elizabeth Edwards and Julia Adeney Thomas.


The Ethics of Seeing gathers together very useful and highly readable contributions to the history of German photography. These stimulating essays give a broad perspective on the German twentieth century, and in many cases address important gaps in the historical record.” · Simon Ward, Durham University

“This is a profoundly important contribution to the field. It analyzes an impressively wide range of photographic materials—including artistic, scientific, vernacular, queer, colonial, institutional, and journalistic sources—in a way that enriches art history while also addressing the specific concerns of historians working in visual culture.” · Donna West Brett, The University of Sydney


Throughout Germany’s tumultuous twentieth century, photography was an indispensable form of documentation. Whether acting as artists, witnesses, or reformers, both professional and amateur photographers chronicled social worlds through successive periods of radical upheaval. The Ethics of Seeing brings together an international group of scholars to explore the complex relationship between the visual and the historic in German history. Emphasizing the transformation of the visual arena and the ways in which ordinary people made sense of world events, these revealing case studies illustrate photography’s multilayered role as a new form of representation, a means to subjective experience, and a fresh mode of narrating the past.


Jennifer Evans is Professor of Modern European History at Carleton University in Ottawa Canada. She has co-edited several books on same-sex desire in twentieth-century Europe, including Queer Cities, Queer Cultures: Europe since 1945 (2014) and Was ist Homosexualität? (2014), in addition to her monograph Life among the Ruins: Cityscape and Sexuality in Cold War Berlin (2011). She recently edited a special issue of German History entitled “Queering German History.”

Paul Betts is Professor of Modern European History at St Antony’s College, Oxford. He is the author of several books on twentieth-century cultural history, including Within Walls: Private Life in the German Democratic Republic (2010) and most recently (as co-editor), Religion, Science and Communism in Cold War Europe (2016).

Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann is Associate Professor for Late Modern Europe in the History Department of the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of several books on German and transnational history since the Enlightenment, most recently (as editor) Human Rights in the Twentieth-Century (2011) and (as co-editor), Seeking Peace in the Wake of War: Europe 1943-1947 (2015).