By Wendy Kozol
In our stressed global, visible photos of army clash and political strife are ubiquitous. a long way much less visible, way more elusive, is how we see such pictures, how witnessing army violence and discomfort impacts us. Distant Wars Visible brings a brand new viewpoint to such enduring questions on clash images and different kinds of visible advocacy, even if in aid of U.S. army targets or in critique of the state at war.
At the book’s heart is what writer Wendy Kozol calls an analytic of ambivalence—a severe method of the tensions among spectacle and empathy provoked by way of staring at at army atrocities and trauma. via this strategy, Distant Wars Visible makes use of key recommendations comparable to the politics of flinch, the concept of having a look in other places, skeptical records, and moral spectatorship to ascertain a number of visible cultural practices depicting conflict, off and on the battlefield, from the 1999 NATO bombings in Kosovo to the present.
Kozol’s research attracts from collections of kin pictures, human rights images, self sufficient movie construction, photojournalism, and different examples of war’s visible tradition, in addition to huge visible proof of the ways that U.S. militarism operates to keep up geopolitical dominance—from Fallujah and Abu Ghraib to the latest drone moves in Pakistan.
Throughout, Kozol finds how elements similar to gender, race, and sexuality build competing visualizations of id in a variety of media from image narrative and movie to clash images and battlefield souvenirs—and how contingencies and contradictions in visible tradition form the politics and ethics of witnessing.
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Additional resources for Distant wars visible : the ambivalence of witnessing
Sharon Sliwinski (2011) contends that images of trauma, violence, and suffering, more than the abstract concept of rights, have been instrumental in fostering an international community of spectators around the political tenet of universal humanity. Discussing a foundational moment of visual engagement with distant suffering, she argues that visual culture in the eighteenth century encouraged the spectator to embrace the “fragile but critical task” of judgment, that is, of recognizing the other as human (47).
14 Throughout the 1990s, American news media extensively reported on genocidal acts of ethnic cleansing and other forms of oppression by Serbian nationalists against ethnic populations in Bosnia, Kosovo/a, and elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia. Beginning in 1998, Serbian military and paramilitary forces began an escalated campaign against Albanians in Kosovo/a. According to some critics, however, mass expulsions and killings associated with ethnic cleansing did not occur until after the bombings started on March 24, 1999.
In her discussion of representations of the Holocaust, she “issues a warning to those, including me, who step into this shadowy realm of ghosts and photographs, whose steps inevitably trespass into the sites and traces of death, of lives effaced, of genocide” (xi). I am deeply mindful of Liss’s concerns about the violence that accompanies the inevitable “trespass” in pictures like Time’s refugee mother and child. At the same time, news media often remain the only access for many viewers to visual knowledge of distant suffering.