Life in the Age of Drone Warfare

Book Pages: 448 Illustrations: 33 illustrations Published: October 2017

Geography, Media Studies, Science and Technology Studies

This volume's contributors offer a new critical language through which to explore and assess the historical, juridical, geopolitical, and cultural dimensions of drone technology and warfare. They show how drones generate particular ways of visualizing the spaces and targets of war while acting as tools to exercise state power. Essays include discussions of the legal justifications of extrajudicial killings and how US drone strikes in the Horn of Africa impact life on the ground, as well as a personal narrative of a former drone operator. The contributors also explore drone warfare in relation to sovereignty, governance, and social difference; provide accounts of the relationships between drone technologies and modes of perception and mediation; and theorize drones’ relation to biopolitics, robotics, automation, and art. Interdisciplinary and timely, Life in the Age of Drone Warfare extends the critical study of drones while expanding the public discussion of one of our era's most ubiquitous instruments of war.

Contributors. Peter Asaro, Brandon Wayne Bryant, Katherine Chandler, Jordan Crandall, Ricardo Dominguez, Derek Gregory, Inderpal Grewal, Lisa Hajjar, Caren Kaplan, Andrea Miller, Anjali Nath, Jeremy Packer, Lisa Parks, Joshua Reeves, Thomas Stubblefield, Madiha Tahir


"This truly interdisciplinary work will challenge conventional understandings of a quickly emerging academic area. Those seeking a purely empirical analysis of how drone technology has changed the landscape might be left seeking slightly more, but they will be exposed to a series of well-constructed, timely arguments throughout this volume. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty." — W. Miller, Choice

"An extensive and thorough compendium." — Aurelio Cianciotta, Neural

"A masterful document, as fraught and anxiety-inducing as its topic is, the book is, as they say, required reading. . . . I am eager to read more from any one of the authors included in it." — Matthew Chambers, New Americanist

"A comprehensive feminist and critical intervention. . . . A decisive feminist and anti-racist contribution to security and surveillance studies that provides a diverse range of interdisciplinary lenses." — Abigail Curlew, Surveillance & Society

"The collection of essays in Life in the Age of Drone Warfare offers a nice corrective to the over-proliferation of studies and artistic practices using drones in contemporary media studies . . . Taken together, the pieces map a fairly comprehensive landscape of the discourse and lived realities around the drone war, in particular the militarization of consumption across the racialized divides of the Global North and the Global South." — Patrick Brodie, Synoptique

"Life in the Age of Drone Warfare is an eclectic collection of fascinating articles. . . .Together, these voices show that while we don’t yet know everything we need to about military drones, we do know they are over-determined." — Chris Hables Gray, Technology and Culture

"Both appealing and relevant to a large audience and offers an exemplary model for continued interdisciplinary research within the critical humanities. . . . The contributions to this book are exemplary of well-researched, critical, and interdisciplinary work in the humanities." — Hugo Ljungbäck, International Journal of Communication

"Life in the Age of Drone Warfare stands apart from most of the other books on lethal drones through its focus on perceptual and imaginative constructions of spatial, normative and biopolitical realities." — Emil Archambault, International Affairs

"An expansive approach to drones and contemporary warfare" — Isla Forsyth, Social & Cultural Geography

"This book is in an exciting and innovative collection that promotes a critical reading of drones and does much to break down the static and realist assumptions that frequently inform this issue." — Michelle Bentley, Politics, Religion & Ideology

“As the presence of the drone in public imaginaries expands, its military/imperial paternities are overshadowed while the modes of violence that drone operations enable are progressively normalized. This thoughtfully curated collection definitively interrupts those trajectories. Putting the drone in its geopolitical place, it traces drone genealogies through histories of surveillance and killing from above, to the colonial presents in which we are all implicated, and that we need now more than ever to stand against.” — Lucy Suchman, Lancaster University, UK

Life in the Age of Drone Warfare is an intoxicating whirlwind of a volume explicating the drone in history, law, culture, and geopolitics. Lisa Parks and Caren Kaplan steer the way through an incisive feminist and critical lens partnered with startling material evidence. We find the drone coiled within matrices of relations, both distant and intimate, calculative, legal and bureaucratic, yet embodied and affective. Twisted in not only a vertical but vortical kind of power, the drone winds, distorts, corkscrews, and strangles—rewriting worlds as it goes.” — Peter Adey, author of Aerial Life: Spaces, Mobilities, Affects


Availability: In stock
Price: $30.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Lisa Parks is Professor of Comparative Media Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author and coeditor of several books, most recently, Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures.

Caren Kaplan is Professor of American Studies at the University of California, Davis, and the author and coeditor of several books, including Aerial Aftermaths: Wartime from Above, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top

Acknowledgments  vii
Introduction / Lisa Parks and Caren Kaplan  1
Part I. Juridical, Genealogical, and Geopolitical Imaginaries  23
1. Dirty Dancing: Drones and Death in the Borderlands / Derek Gregory  25
2. Lawfare and Armed Conflicts: A Comparative Analysis of Israeli and U.S. Targeted Killing Policies / Lisa Hajjar  59
3. American Kamikaze Television-Guided Assault Drones in World War II / Katherine Chandler  89
4. (Im)Material Terror: Incitement of Violence Discourse as Racializing Technology in the War on Terror / Andrea Miller  112
5. Vertical Mediation and the U.S. Drone War in the Horn of Africa / Lisa Parks  134
Part II. Perception and Perspective  159
6. Drone-o-Rama: Troubling the Temporal and Spatial Logics of Distance Warfare / Caren Kaplan  161
7. Dronologies: Or Twice-Told-Tales / Ricardo Dominguez  178
8. In Pursuit of Other Networks: Drone Art and Accelerationist Aesthetics / Thomas Stubblefield  195
9. The Containment Zone / Madiha Tahir  220
10. Stoners, Stones, and Drones: Transnational South Asian Visuality from Above and Below / Anjali Nath  241
Part III. Biopolitics, Automation, and Robotics  259
11. Taking People Out: Drones, Media/Weapons, and the Coming Humanectomy / Jeremy Packer and Joshua Reeves  261
12. The Labor of Surveillance and Bureaucratized Killing: New Subjectivities of Military Drone Operators / Peter Asaro  282
13. Letter from a Sensor Operator / Brandon Bryant  315
14. Materialities of the Robotic / Jordan Crandall  324
15. Drone Imaginaries: The Technopolitics of Visuality in Postcolony and Empire / Inderpal Grewal  343

Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6973-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6958-5
Publicity material