Drone Publics?

Wednesday, 29 March, 2017 - 12:30

WiSER invites you to a lunch time seminar by

Kate Chandler
(Georgetown University)

Drone Publics?

A recent article published in The Guardian heralds, “From killing machines to agents of hope: the future of drones in Africa,” proposing to its readers that unmanned aircraft will smoothly transition from targeted killings to achieving humanitarian goals (at least, on the African continent). Recent projects using drone aircraft are only one instance in which so-called technical systems are entangled with post-colonialism, militarism and aid, although, they offer a poignant case study as connections and contradictions between killing and hope are made transparent.  I contrast the imaginary of the article with fieldwork that lays out the technical, political and economic challenges of using drones in practice, as well as the ways these “new” systems remain connected to military rubrics, regardless of the distinctions that are made by engineers, users and advocates.  Through these cases, I re-examine the framework of the drone: who or what do they target, but just as significantly, who or what are the collectives they claim to protect? The final part of my paper asks how one might theorize drone publics, both those that automatically accept the inevitability of drone aircraft and one that deliberates on the social-technical collectives they create.

Tuesday, 28th March 2017

WiSER Seminar Room,
6th Floor, Richard Ward Building,
East Campus, Wits University

All welcome.

WISER Research Theme: