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Maureen Shanahan, James Madison University

October 8, 2015 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Presented by the Dept. of Art and the Center for Psychoanalysis

Maureen Shanahan, Associate Professor of Art History at James Madison University; 2015 fellow at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

“The Orientalist and the Asylum: Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault’s Veiled Photography”

Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault (1872-1934) was a photographer, ethnographer, art historian and, from 1920 to 1934, chief psychiatrist for the Parisian police. During the same period that he taught and wrote about the antiquity of Moroccan dress with ambitions to write Orientalist histories of dress and drapery, he also committed thousands in police custody to the asylum with no therapeutic treatment. An object of attack by Surrealist André Breton, Clérambault is an important figure in the history and politics of the disciplinary and objectifying gaze of French colonial orders. Despite his significance, Clérambault’s strange and seemingly surreal photographic archive has remained little explored until now; in this talk, Professor Shanahan will unpack it and its relationship to psychiatry and policing.

Maureen G. Shanahan is professor of art history at James Madison University. She has published fifteen articles on avant-garde art and has two forthcoming book books, The Colorist Doctor: Fernand Léger and the Aesthetics of Trauma and a co-edited volume, Simón Bolívar: Travels and Transformations of a Cultural Icon. She is currently a research fellow at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.


October 8, 2015
9:00 am - 10:00 am


107 Talbert Hall