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October 31, 2013 / Mark Largent

Talk on Armed Drones

Remote Control: Asymmetrical Entanglements of Bodies and Machines


Friday, November 1, 2013 – 2:00pm
457 Vanderpool Room Berkey Hall

This talk, by Dr. Lucy Suchman, will examine conjoinings of persons and machines within what Der Derian (2009) has named ‘MIME-net’, the military-industrial-media-entertainment network. Her focus is on logics and material practices of remotely-controlled weapon systems (particularly armed drones and weaponized robots), including the concept of ‘situation awareness’ as a central legitimizing premise. Drawing from news reports, military documents, and critical scholarship, Dr. Suchman examines connections between military discourses on keeping ‘our’ bodies safe, and the project of cutting the networks that might bring wars too close to home. These connections are multiply configured, as some bodies become increasingly entangled with machines, in the interest of keeping them apart from the bodies of others. Sheoffers an argument regarding the essential and inescapable tension between a commitment to distance, and to the requirements of ‘positive identification’ that underwrite canons of legal killing. This tension holds not only for those involved in command and control of the front lines (the focus of the military), but also for those of us responsible as citizens for grasping events in which we are, however indirectly, morally, politically and economically implicated.


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