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27022 : Surveillance Media

Description: Surveillance media are ubiquitous: in your pocket, on the street, at school, underground, and in the air. They work incessantly and quietly, often without our knowledge but always with the goal of producing knowledge about us. But they don't do so equally. Wedded to concepts of security, risk, and crisis, surveillance is itself a technology of power. While some of us benefit from surveillance in certain contexts, many others are disproportionally targeted based on differences of race, gender, sexuality, class, religious affiliation, ability, citizenship, and more. This course will explore how surveillance media distribute power in the United States and across its global connections. Throughout, we will understand surveillance media not only as the specific technologies used for surveillance, but also how these technologies differentially mediate our bodies, behaviors, communities, and political relationships. Beginning with various theoretical frameworks of surveillance, this course will track surveillance media across various sites and systems. These include borders, policing, drones, algorithms, and labor. In each, we will examine both contemporary and historical materials in order to consider how our dominant ideas and values about surveillance media are rooted in the ideologies and violences of capitalism, colonialism, and empire. We conclude by exploring modalities of resistance in art and grassroots organizing that imagine more just futures.

Instructor(s): Gary Kafer

Offered: Autumn 2021

Category: Elective

Cluster(s): Games, Digital Moving Image