“Ruins” will cover texts and images, from Thucydides to WWII, via the Reformation. We will include films (e.g. Rossellini’s “Germany Year Zero”), art (e.g. H. Robert, Piranesi) archaeology, the museum (Soane). On ruins writing, we will read Thucydides, Pausanias from within antiquity, the Enlightenment responses to the destruction and archaeological rediscovery of Pompeii, Diderot, Simmel, Freud on the mind as levels of ruins (Rome) and the analysis as reconstructive archaeologist as well as on the novel Gradiva and the Acropolis, the Romantic obsession with ruins, and the firebombing in WWII. We will also consider the photographing of ruins, and passages from the best-known works on photography (Benjamin, Sontag, Ritchen, Fried, Azoulay). The goal is to see how ruin gazing, and its depictions (textual, imagistic, photographic, etc.) change from the ancients (Greek and Roman), to the Romantic use of ruins as a source of (pleasurable) melancholy, to the technological “advances” in targeting and decimating civilian populations that describe the Second Word War.