Can You Hear Us Now?: Research & The Temporalities of War | A Yale Ethnography Hub series

March 26 4pm | Location WLH 309

REGISTER HERE | E. Gabriel Dattatreyan (NYU), Lisa Ling (U.S. drone whistleblower), and Helga Tawil-Souri (NYU) discuss how to AI is shaping war. Respondents: Joanna Radin (Yale) & Madiha Tahir (Yale)

Colonial and imperial regimes have made bold claims about the uses of big data and “artificial intelligence” in fighting so-called ‘clean wars.’ Yet, even as warmaking shifts towards these technologies, reporting on the ground has repeatedly contradicted claims to a clean war from Afghanistan to Palestine. This panel will interrogate how “AI”–a vague term for a host of varying techniques and technologies—functions as technique, as claim, as metaphor to remake the terrain of imperial and colonial warmaking. We ask: How has AI remade war? What can the longer colonial history of data and data work tell us about AI and imperial and colonial power today? How can we develop a decolonial analytics of AI, one that engages the targets of imperial warmaking as subjects in their own right? 

Helga Tawil-Souri is Associate Professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU. Her research focuses on technology, media, culture, territory and politics in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Palestine-Israel. She has written on Arab media; Palestinian cinema, television, video games and popular culture; telecommunications and internet infrastructure and development in the Palestinian Territories; cultural/territorial politics, checkpoints, identification cards, and surveillance in Palestine-Israel, among other topics. Most recently, she has been experimenting with visual forms of expression and especially collage. Tawil-Souri is co-editor of the 2016 book Gaza as Metaphor and is currently working on another volume tentatively titled Producing Palestine

Lisa Ling served in the U.S. military as a technical sergeant on drone surveillance systems before leaving with an honorable discharge in 2012. She is a whistleblower who has been critical of the US drone wars. Ling appears in the 2016 documentary on drone warfare, National Bird.

E. Gabriel Dattatreyan is an anthropologist interested in urban life, digital media circulations, youthful becoming, racialized difference, and gendered performance based at NYU. While the bulk of his ethnographic work is set in Delhi and Pune, India, he has ongoing projects in Philadelphia, USA, and in Oulu, Finland. He works in multiple media with the belief that experimentations in form afford an opportunity to engage broader audiences, involve research participants, and more reflexively engage with ethnography as a way of knowing. He is the author of The Globally Familiar and a co-author, with Sahana Udupa, of Digital Unsettling: Decoloniality and Dispossession in the Age of Social Media.