Distant wars visible : the ambivalence of witnessing by Wendy Kozol

By Wendy Kozol


In our stressed global, visible photos of army clash and political strife are ubiquitous. a long way much less seen, way more elusive, is how we see such pictures, how witnessing army violence and soreness impacts us. Distant Wars Visible brings a brand new viewpoint to such enduring questions on clash images and different kinds of visible advocacy, no matter if in aid of U.S. army ambitions or in critique of the country at war.


At the book’s middle is what writer Wendy Kozol calls an analytic of ambivalence—a severe method of the tensions among spectacle and empathy provoked by way of watching at army atrocities and trauma. via this strategy, Distant Wars Visible makes use of key suggestions similar to the politics of draw back, the proposal of taking a look in different places, skeptical records, and moral spectatorship to check a number of visible cultural practices depicting struggle, off and on the battlefield, from the 1999 NATO bombings in Kosovo to the present.


Kozol’s research attracts from collections of relatives images, human rights images, self sustaining movie construction, photojournalism, and different examples of war’s visible tradition, in addition to vast visible proof of the ways that U.S. militarism operates to keep up geopolitical dominance—from Fallujah and Abu Ghraib to the newest drone moves in Pakistan.


Throughout, Kozol unearths how elements similar to gender, race, and sexuality build competing visualizations of id in quite a number media from picture 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

Sample text

As Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain 40 · Domesticating War in Kosovo explained, “To walk away now would destroy NATO’s credibility” (quoted in Chomsky 1999, 40). Defense of humanitarian intervention also ignored the substantial material interests at stake for NATO and the United States. These interests included investments by arms manufacturers and Western businesses, oil companies’ efforts to secure pipelines across the Balkans, and the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the region.

In the 1930s, technological innovations in printing and communications enabled faster transmission of photographs and the development of picture magazines such as Life and Look. As National Socialists accrued greater power in Germany and war grew increasingly likely, a number of influential photographers and editors immigrated to the United States and Britain, contributing further to the development of picture magazines in those countries. Increasing popularity of documentary photography, newsreels, and the new picture magazines furthered the growth of photography in news publications (Kozol 1994; Zelizer 1999).

Images of suffering, in other words, that hail the witness to gaze at iconic motherhood make suffering legible within a humanitarian visual logic. Yet this picture does more than simply produce a spectacle that elides local contexts and political struggles. Media witnessing here domesticates alterity as part of justifications for military intervention, but her subjectivity is not so easily contained. Aesthetic strategies in this witnessing text position the Albanian mother’s political subjectivity as distinct from that of the viewer through the compositional stability, the direct stare that could be read as suspicious of the photographer/viewer, and the main figure group’s visual distance from the viewer, blocked partly by the foreground figure.

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