Thanks to the Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies at the University of Toronto for inviting me to serve as a commentator for a launch event (this Wednesday!) to celebrate Thy Phu’s amazing new book, Warring Visions: Photography and Vietnam. Warring Visions is a brilliant counterpoint to what Phu describes as the “American framework” that otherwise shapes so much writing and thinking about the visual culture of the Vietnam War. Writing against this perspective, which crowds other views and voices out of the frame, Phu provides a richly faceted account that centers the ways that Vietnamese people represented themselves. In the process, Thy demonstrates the need to expand the conventional boundaries of the category of ‘war photography’ to include a range of other images: domestic, quotidian, misrecognized, retouched, missing, and fictionalized. This book is so good, and I’m truly looking forward to being in conversation about it.
ASA is virtual this year but I’m actually serving as chair/comment on the “Creativity and Revolt In / Against Histories of Violence” panel. This panel, which is sponsored by the Visual Culture Caucus, invites exploration of the fraught, often unpredictable relationships between creativity and revolt in histories of violence. What forms of creativity and revolt in response to violence get recognized as such? Which ones get buried, overlooked, or obscured? What objects and images record these histories? And how might we read them with an eye toward what might otherwise go unseen? I’ll look forward to learning more from Elijah Gaddis, Louise Davis, and Judith Ridner.
It is essential reading for researchers interested in how the technologies of remote warfare have been imagined, presented, and resisted. For researchers interested in the geopolitical logics of remote warfare … this text sheds new light on how the constitutive “remoteness” of remote warfare has come to be mediated and encountered by Western publics through a range of different forms of popular culture.
This book is an excellent resource for researchers intent on forming a better understanding of the methodological challenges that are reflected in researching trauma in complex environments, such as the distant battlefield, and how contemporary modes of approaching this topic have shifted over time.
I am a little bit in awe of the work that Scott Gabriel Knowles is doing on his thoughtful, wide-ranging, and generally epic COVIDCalls podcast.
I joined him for a conversation back in May, which you can find here. In addition to talking about Coronavirus Lost and Found, we also talked about how we talk about the pandemic in general, the problems with discourses of resiliency, and more. Visit the site to listen to my interview or any of the hundreds (!) of others he has done since the spring of 2020.
A belated thanks to my new friends at Curating for Culture for their invitation to host an online workshop on pandemic archiving last month. This Bangalore-based collective is creating online archival spaces where people can record their pandemic experiences, and supporting others who want to launch their own archival projects. Their work is outstanding. A recording of my workshop, “Acknowledging the Crisis,” is available here.
Well, the bad news is that I’m not actually going to Perth. Webex = the story of my life. But the good news is that the event is free and open to anyone who wants to attend (also on Webex). My talk starts at 7:00 a.m. Eastern (!) but there’s also a neat panel happening before that. Thanks so much to Kit Messham-Muir and Uroš Čvoro for the invite.
… but this might be my favorite article that I’ve ever written.
I’m still astonished that the editors saw fit to include my piece in a special issue of Cultural Studies on “The Cultural Politics of COVID-19,” which is full of work by amazing scholars.
You can find my article, “Enduring COVID-19, Nevertheless” here.
And the whole issue is open-access and free to download until June 30th (thanks, Routledge).
I recently had a chat with Lee Boot, Director of UMBC’s Imaging Research Center and host of a smart new podcast called Kaleid (as in, you know, ‘kaleidoscope’). We talked about all sorts of things, including surveillance, consumerism, and the difficult impulse to visualize complex phenomena. The episode is available here.
Last summer, I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to chat with Sarah Ellen Ford of the Books Aren’t Dead podcast about Figuring Violence: Affective Investments in Perpetual War. Our conversation is now available here.