Remote Warfare

New Cultures of Violence

2020

Rebecca A. Adelman and David Kieran, Editors

Remote Warfare

Considers how people have confronted, challenged, and resisted remote warfare

From the story arc of Homeland to redefining the idea of a “warrior,” thirteen essays consider the new nature of surveillance, similarities between killing with drones and gaming, literature written by veterans, and much more. Timely and provocative, Remote Warfare makes significant and lasting contributions to our understanding of drones and the cultural forces that shape and sustain them.

Drone warfare is now a routine, if not predominant, aspect of military engagement. Although this method of delivering violence at a distance has been a part of military arsenals for two decades, scholarly debate on remote warfare writ large has remained stuck in tired debates about practicality, efficacy, and ethics. Remote Warfare broadens the conversation, interrogating the cultural and political dimensions of distant warfare and examining how various stakeholders have responded to the reality of state-sponsored remote violence.

The essays here represent a panoply of viewpoints, revealing overlooked histories of remoteness, novel methodologies, and new intellectual challenges. From the story arc of Homeland to redefining the idea of a “warrior,” these thirteen pieces consider the new nature of surveillance, similarities between killing with drones and gaming, literature written by veterans, and much more. Timely and provocative, Remote Warfare makes significant and lasting contributions to our understanding of drones and the cultural forces that shape and sustain them.

Contributors: Syed Irfan Ashraf, U of Peshawar, Pakistan; Jens Borrebye Bjering, U of Southern Denmark; Annika Brunck, U of Tübingen; David A. Buchanan, U.S. Air Force Academy; Owen Coggins, Open U; Andreas Immanuel Graae, U of Southern Denmark; Brittany Hirth, Dickinson State U; Tim Jelfs, U of Groningen; Ann-Katrine S. Nielsen, Aarhus U; Nike Nivar Ortiz, U of Southern California; Michael Richardson, U of New South Wales; Kristin Shamas, U of Oklahoma; Sajdeep Soomal; Michael Zeitlin, U of British Columbia.

Remote Warfare

Rebecca A. Adelman is professor of media and communication studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is author of Beyond the Checkpoint: Visual Practices in America’s Global War on Terror and Figuring Violence: Affective Investments in Perpetual War.

David Kieran is assistant professor of history at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania. He is author of Signature Wounds: The Untold Story of the Military’s Mental Health Crisis and Forever Vietnam: How a Divisive War Changed American Public Memory.

Remote Warfare

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Rethinking Killing at a Distance

Rebecca A. Adelman and David Kieran

Part I. Visions

1. “An Entirely New Method of Conducting War at a Distance”: The First World War and the Air War of the Future

Michael Zeitlin

2. Warrior Woundings, Warrior Culture: An Ethos for Post-9/11 American War Culture

David Buchanan

3. From Hermeneutics to Archives: Parasites and Predators in Homeland

Jens Borrebye Bjering and Andreas Immanuel Graae

4. Eye in the Sky: Persistent Surveillance Technology and the Age of Global War

Nike Nivar Ortiz

Part II. Intimacies

5. Of Games and Drones: Mediating Traumatic Affect in the Age of Remote Warfare

Michael Richardson

6. Over There? War Writing, Lethal Technology, and Democracy in America

Tim Jelfs

7. “Wanted Dead or Alive”: The Hunt for Osama bin Laden

Annika Brunck

8. Home, Away, Home: Remoteness and Intimacy in Contemporary Danish Veteran Literature

Ann-Katrine S. Nielsen

Part III. Reconfigurations

9. Necrospace, Media, and Remote War: Ethnographic Notes from Lebanon and Pakistan, 2006–2008

Syed Irfan Ashraf and Kristin Shamas

10. Drones vs. Drones: Ambient and Ambivalent Sounds against Remote Warfare

Owen Coggins

11. Bombs and Black Humor: Aerial Warfare and the Absurd

Brittany Hirth

12. An Architecture against Dacoits: On Drones, Mosquitos, and the Smart City

Sajdeep Soomal

Contributors

Index