Lecture, Penn State Comp Lit Luncheon Series, 10/26/15

I will be presenting the talk described below in Penn State’s Comp Lit Luncheon Series. For more information, click here

FergusonRemaking Machines:
Pragmatics and Politics of Photography

“The only sensible weapon against the cops,” Chris Marker presciently claimed in the 1960s, is “a film camera.” Exploring the ramifications of this statement in the context of the current struggles around the racial violence perpetrated by the police and vigilantes, this paper proposes an expansive reflection on the social pragmatics of photography and its consequences. It begins by revisiting the question ‘what is photography?’ by inquiring into its supposed privileged relationship to the objective world. It argues that photography, far from simply capturing reality, is a powerful remaking machine that recomposes the very nature of the real. By resituating the photographic apparatus in a broad social pragmatics, it thereby seeks to elucidate its political power as a “sensible weapon.”


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