Colloquium | Caren Kaplan

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 12:00pm


Caren Kaplan

Aerial Aftermaths: Remote Sensing in Post-9/11 Wartime

Despite the efforts of global media and politicians to frame the attacks of September 11, 2001 as exceptional, positioning the United States as an innocent victim in a battle between abstract values of good and evil, the melancholic presences and absences that permeate the aftermath disturb timelines as well as spatial boundaries. In the aerial images of “9/11” and its aftermath, the primary discourses of representation in general and photography in particular are both emphatically propounded and challenged. No matter how many images are collected, stored, interpreted, and released, these pictures are always after the fact. Inherently incomplete or confounding yet generative of signs of what or whom is missing, these extreme examples of the limits of the image also offer a way to sense what persists in wartime's everyday--the unspooling, dispositional violence of the colonial present.

Caren Kaplan is Professor of American Studies at the University of California at Davis. She is the author of Aerial Aftermaths: Wartime from Above (Duke 2017) and Questions of Travel: Postmodern Discourses of Displacement (Duke 1996) and the co-author/editor of Life in the Age of Drone Warfare (Duke 2017), Introduction to Women’s Studies: Gender in a Transnational World (McGraw-Hill 2001/2005), Between Woman and Nation: Transnational Feminisms and the State (Duke 1999), and Scattered Hegemonies: Postmodernity and Transnational Feminist Practices (Minnesota 1994) as well as two large-scale, digital multi-media scholarly works, Dead Reckoning (2007) and Precision Targets (2010). She is the series co-editor of Next Wave: New Directions in Women’s Studies for Duke University Press.

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