Photography and humanitarian intervention: The early years, 1850-1914

Jeremy Adelman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the entangled histories of early long-distance photography and the rise of humanitarian sensibility and public policy. It shows how creating graphic imagery of suffering far away shaped opinions of strangers back home. It also demonstrates the ways in which debates at home fueled interventions and military campaigning abroad, which created demand and opportunities for journalists to follow soldiers and charitable workers. The role of new technologies, the business of media consortia, and the professionalization of what would eventually become called photojournalism turned the world into a spectacle. In the end, the rise of humanitarianism and the norms of intervention drove an escalation of imperial state-making and rivalry, as images of suffering themselves became instruments of competition and contestation between and within empires.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Humanitarian Communication
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781315363486
ISBN (Print)9781138230576
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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