Because we got such an overwhelming response to the CFP for our special issue, and because there is so much more to be said, Dave Kieran and I are developing an edited collection, currently entitled New Cultures of Remote Warfare: Visions, Intimacies, and Reconfigurations. A bit more about the project:
We are now into the second century in which aerial warfare is commonplace in a range of forms, and the second decade in which drone warfare is routinized. As paradigm, strategy, and tactic, violence-at-a-distance has become a predominant model of military engagement. Even a partial list of its manifestations reveals its reach and diversification: the initial use of weaponized aircraft during the First World War; the bombing of Guernica in the Spanish Civil War; the firebombing of Tokyo during the Second World War; Richard Nixon’s efforts to use sustained bombing to compel negotiations during the Vietnam War; the ‘smart bombs’ fetishized during the 1991 Persian Gulf War; and the embrace of drones as the solution to the challenges posed by the twenty-first century’s non-linear and unbounded battlefield. War at a distance requires, and prompts the development of, new types of weapons, including the atom bomb, the Minuteman Missile, Napalm, Cruise missiles, and the Predator and Reaper drones. The significance of these inventions, and their casualties, extends beyond the historical and political frames, resonating into the domains of environment, ethics, and culture.
Activists, artists, and scholars across the humanities and social sciences have taken these forms of warfare as objects of criticism, inspiration, and study. Beyond the rehash of now-familiar critiques of remote warfare and its potential for dehumanization and indiscriminate lethality, however, what remains to be said? Our proposed volume, New Cultures of Remote Warfare: Visions, Intimacies, and Reconfigurations, brings together established and emerging scholars from around the world. This volume develops new, more substantive and productive ways of thinking about remoteness in warfare by opening up uncharted critical spaces in which to reflect on it and, more specifically, its cultural origins, consequences, and enmeshments.
New Cultures of Remote Warfare is comprised of thirteen essays that offer novel approaches to the questions provoked by remote warfare, and they propose new and often unanticipated answers. Foregrounding its cultural entanglements, the volume recontextualizes remote warfare beyond the battlefield and explores its implications for cultural production, activism, and social life in both military and civilian spaces. Taken together, these essays expand upon, and in some cases upend, critical orthodoxies about remote warfare, while accounting thoughtfully for its consequences. Given the centrality of U.S. doctrine, technologies, and conflicts in the propagation of remote warfare, many contributions focus on the American context, but attend also to its transnational resonances, and resituate the U.S. in diasporic flows and virtual spaces.