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Californie 1900: Lecture by 2023 TMH Fellow Carolin Görgen
Los Angeles, CA 90095 + Google Map
Join us for a lecture by Carolin Görgen, Associate Professor of American Studies at Sorbonne Université, Paris & 2023 Thomas Mann Fellow
When the Paris world’s fair opened to the public in the spring of 1900, California was the only U.S. state to have its own pavilion. This talk explores the photo album Californie 1900, a photographic souvenir album assembled expressly for the fair. The album’s elaborate image sequence, accompanied by translations into French and German, transported a victorious narrative of conquest over the western American environment to European publics. At the same time, the myriad photographic illustrations also helped fashion California’s self-image in a period of growing nationalism – as the contributing photographers themselves concluded that “it is only through photography that the beauties of this state can be displayed to the East and to the rest of the world.” Looking at the album’s circulation from San Francisco to Paris and back, this talk aims to reconstruct how photographs shaped a dominant visual understanding of the American West.