My research is animated by a curiosity about the intersections of visual culture and militarized violence, especially questions of affect, citizenship, and ethics.
My most recent book, Figuring Violence: Affective Investments in Perpetual War catalogs the affects that define contemporary American militarism: apprehension, affection, admiration, gratitude, pity, and anger. These affects constitute civilian children, military children, military spouses, veterans with PTSD and TBI, Guantánamo detainees, and military dogs as preferred objects of public sentiment. Tracking the imaginative work that sustains this process, I argue that such ‘figuring’ catches these beings in a cultural dynamic that erases them and renders them hypervisible at once.
Prior to that, in my first book, Beyond the Checkpoint: Visual Practices in America’s Global War on Terror, I mapped the visual circuits linking the terrorized American nation-state, its citizens, and its enemies by exploring the practices of image creation, circulation, and consumption that animate these relationships.
My most recent major project was co-editing, with David Kieran, the collection Remote Warfare: New Cultures of Violence. Taking as their focus the various practices, technologies, and cultures of remoteness that have shaped warfare since the early twentieth century, the essays in this collection illuminate overlooked histories, experiment with novel methodologies, and integrate unexpected voices to broaden our thinking about violence that unfolds at a distance from its targets.
My current book project is a collaboration with Wendy Kozol. The War In-Between (under contract with Fordham University Press) explores quotidian visual cultures of living, dying, and surviving in conditions of militarized violence.
Officially, I’m Professor and Chair of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where I teach classes on visual culture, media history and theory, and globalization. Beyond my work in my home department, I am also affiliate faculty in UMBC’s Department of Gender, Women’s, & Sexuality Studies, and I have taught in the Intermedia and Digital Arts M.F.A. program. In 2016, I received a University System of Maryland Regents’ Award for Excellence in Research.