… which is not to say that opacity is better …

Just published a short piece in The Conversation about transparency, spectatorship, and the detainee photos released by the DoD two weeks ago.

https://theconversation.com/dod-detainee-photos-raise-disturbing-questions-about-transparency-54518

It’s a little uncomfortable to critique transparency, especially because I think the argument is so easily misread as a defense of secrecy or tacit endorsement of the conduct being pictured.  But part of the problem with the discourse of transparency is that it equates the act of exposure with the work of protest, so that arguments against exposure start to look like advocacy for what is being exposed.  From my perspective, the most urgent task is to find an alternate path toward accountability, one that detours widely around the question of what is happening ‘in our names.’  The difficulty of thinking about accountability in the absence of transparency reveals the extent to which the framework of transparency has itself become hegemonic.

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