An Infidel’s Interpretation of the Islamic State Mother and Child Case


  • Spring Ulmer Middlebury College



motherhood, statehood, photography


An Infidel’s Interpretation of the Islamic State Mother and Child Case reframes images of Islamic State wives and children as Madonna and child artworks to trouble ideologies that represent such women and children as enemies, as dangerous minds, as detritus, unworthy of statehood. The overlaying of news photographs of Islamic State mothers and children atop artworks referencing the Madonna and child also serves to decolonize traditional, art historical, visual analyses of artworks employing the Madonna and child motif. The additional redrawing of each overlay in the style of a court sketch satirically comments upon the violence of law as well as the violence of its denial.


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Author Biography

Spring Ulmer, Middlebury College

Spring Ulmer is the author of Benjamin’s Spectacles, The Age of Virtual Reproduction, and Bestiality of the Involved. She is a recent recipient of a NEA in Translation and the winner of the 2016 Willis Barnstone Translation Prize. Her scholarship has appeared in the following anthologies: Post-racial America?: An Interdisciplinary Study; Comparative Feminism, Postmodernism, Postcolonialism: Gender and Sexual Identity in Contemporary Turkish Literature and Culture, and Photography and Cinema, 50 Years of La Jetée. She teaches in the English Department at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, USA. She has also worked as a journalist and photojournalist, taught writing and photography workshops at the University of Technology and Management in Lahore, Pakistan, and with migrant children, juvenile detainees, homeless youth, and refugees.


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Additional Files



How to Cite

Ulmer, S. (2023). An Infidel’s Interpretation of the Islamic State Mother and Child Case. ARCHIVO PAPERS, 3(1), 100–110.