Aaron Tugendhaft teaches humanities at Bard College Berlin. He is the author of Baal and the Politics of Poetry and co-editor of Idol Anxiety.
There's nothing better than a smart short book. --Bruce Lincoln, author of Apples and Oranges An elegant meditation on the conflict of images and its necessary role in politics. Looking at the lives of Mesopotamian monuments from Ashurbanipal to ISIS, Tugendhaft shows us how the stories they tell about the building and destruction of images are full of surprising similarities and address common philosophical questions. He argues that both iconoclasm and humanist universalism, for example, represent an impossible desire to depoliticise social life by monopolising the world of images. --Faisal Devji, author of Islam after Liberalism With an argumentative arc stretching from idols to museums to videos, this book will be valuable to a variety of readers, including Assyriologists, archaeologists, ancient and contemporary historians, and scholars in media studies. Tugendhaft offers something unique by discussing the destruction of images by ISIS through the lenses of political theory and comparative history. --Eckart Frahm, editor of A Companion to Assyria [Tugendhaft's] rich yet readable book puts ISIS' smashing of ancient sculptures into historical and political context. . . . [it] is extremely relevant to America's current debates about public sculpture, especially with regard to the role of violence in this debate. --Erin L. Thompson Los Angeles Review of Books Blog