Introduction to "The Orientalist Photograph"

Amir Khadem


Introduction to the 2015 Milan Dimic Memorial Lecture. "Behdad’s lecture, “The Orientalist Photograph: An Object of Comparison,” takes up several elements of, Camera Orientalis: Reflections on Photography of the Middle East (U of Chicago P, 2016), and integrates them with observations on the current status of the discipline of Comparative Literature. Professor Behdad, who served as the President of the American Comparative Literature Association in 2014, shares anecdotes of his experiences, obtained from decades of academic and administrative service, to reflect on the challenges in front of the discipline, regarding both its intellectual relevance and its workforce training. Looking back at the originating history of Comparative Literature in American and Canadian universities in the early twentieth century, Behdad argues that the “identity crisis” within the discipline, which has constantly been marked as a serious threat to its integrity, has a potential as the distinguishing factor to make it positively stand out within the humanities in the twenty-first century."

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