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Board of Trustees Professor Seminar

The Humanitarian Eye: Photography and the Imperiled Child

Heide Fehrenbach, Ph.D.
Department of History

Board of Trustees Professor
Presidential Research Professor

Dr. Heidi Fehrenbach On social media and in our newsfeeds and mailboxes, fundraising campaigns featuring needy or suffering children confront us on a daily basis. They seek to grab our attention, stimulate empathy, prick our moral conscience, and open our wallets for a good cause. Modern humanitarianism and photographic technologies emerged in the 19th century and came of age together. But when did humanitarian campaigns first begin to feature children? How do these images address their audiences, and why does this focus persist? During this seminar, Dr. Fehrenbach will consider the history of humanitarianism through the lens of the camera and its focus on the child. History suggests that while depictions of children-in-need may appear static and predictable, for over a century they have been deployed in various ways for a surprising array of political agendas.

Heide Fehrenbach joined the NIU History Department in 2001. Previously she held tenured positions at Emory University and at Colgate University. In 2007 she was named Presidential Research Professor and in 2012 she became Board of Trustees Professor. In 2014 she was named URAD Faculty Mentor of the Year. Fehrenbach’s teaching and research has focused on European history, German-American relations, and transnational histories of race, gender, and visual culture. She is the author or editor of five books, most recently Humanitarian Photography: A History (Cambridge U Press, 2015), and essays on military occupation, war children, and international adoption. A former Guggenheim Fellow, she was fellow-in-residence at the American Academy in Berlin and the recipient of an ACLS and two NEH fellowships.

Monday, September 28, 2015
Capitol Room, Holmes Student Center, Main Floor

11:30 a.m.—12:00 p.m., Refreshments
12:00 p.m.—1:00 p.m., Presentation and Q&A

No registration is required—Everyone is welcome!


Office of the Provost
Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center

Last Updated: 7/28/2015