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13238 : Documenting State Violence

Description: Visual media have become central to activism against state violence. Throughout the past century, activists have deployed new technologies to bear witness to atrocity, record evidence, raise awareness, and promote justice. At the same time, media consistently fail to deliver lasting transformations and can even enable violence rather than counteracting it. In this class, we will explore how media practices support, undermine, and complicate efforts against state violence. How have activists employed documentary evidence?What assumptions have they made about communication, truth, difference, and justice? How do media frame what counts as violence? What are the politics of recording,seeing,and showing harm? What are the possibilities and limitations of emerging digital technologies?We will explore these issues across a range of media—such as photography, documentary film, comics, holograms, satellite and drone imagery, virtual reality experiences, social media platforms, and artificial intelligence—and case studies, including the Holocaust, the Cambodian genocide, the U.S. War on Terror, the Syrian civil war, the Movement for Black Lives, Indigenous resurgence in North America, and environmental violence in Guatemala. Students will be encouraged to think critically and creatively through assignments involving media analysis and media production.

Instructor(s): Crawford-Holland, Sasha

Offered: Autumn 2022

Category: Theory

Cluster(s): Digital Moving Image