Beirut's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR)


"Drone Media and Matters in the Horn of Africa" a lecture by Lisa Parks(Co-sponsored by Media Studies Program)

Date: Monday, April 20, 2015

Place: Building 37, Conf. A (behind old Lee Observatory)

Time: 5:30 pm.

Abstract: Since 2002 the US Joint Special Operations Command

and CIA have orchestrated a covert drone war from Camp Lemonier in the

African country of Djibouti, monitoring and striking alleged Al Qaeda and

Al-Shabaab suspects in Yemen and Somalia. Building on recent work the

politics of vertical space, this paper analyzes US drone operations in the

Horn of Africa region. As a media scholar, I am interested both in the

discourses people use to expose such covert US drone interventions and

in the ways drones themselves function as technologies of mediation. In

this paper, I explore the drone’s mediating work through three registers:

the infrastructural, the perceptual, and the forensic. Drawing upon media

such as training manual diagrams, infrared images, Google Earth

interfaces, and drone crash scene photos I describe how dangerous

practices of mobility, including mobile phone use, have become in a region

of Africa that has become central to US counterterrorism efforts.


Lisa Parks, Ph.D. is Professor of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa

Barbara, where she is currently the Director of the Center for Information

Technology and Society. Parks has conducted research on uses of media

and information technologies in different national contexts, most recently in

Zambia. Her work is highly interdisciplinary and engages with fields such

as geography, international relations, communication, and art. Parks is the

author of Cultures in Orbit: Satellites and the Televisual (Duke UP,

2005), Vertical Mediation and the War on Terror (forthcoming), and Mixed

Signals: Media Infrastructures and Cultural Geographies (in progress). She

is co-editor of: Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures (U of

Illinois, 2015), Down to Earth: Satellite Technologies, Industries and

Cultures (Rutgers UP, 2012), and Planet TV: A Global Television



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