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Workshop on Infrastructures of Empire: Mediated Activism and (Counter) Revolutions

Co-presented by the Social Science Research Council, NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and South Asia @ NYU

Co-sponsored by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, NYU Department of Media, Culture and Communication, Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, and Center for Media, Culture and History.

Documentary screenings (open to the public):

Friday, April 25, 2014, 6-7:30PM at the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, 50 Washington Square South (enter at 255 Sullivan Street)

Wounds of Warziristan: Film Screening and Discussion with Madiha Tahir

What does it mean to be haunted by loss? Since the drone attacks began in 2004, the borderlands between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been the subject of heated discussion by journalists and pundits. Yet, the people who actually live there and survive the aftermath of American policies are rarely heard from. Wounds of Waziristan, a short documentary by filmmaker Madiha Tahir, tells the haunting stories of those directly impacted by US drone attacks in Pakistan. Wounds gets beyond the legal debate to focus on drone survivors, ordinary people who persist in extraordinary conditions. In their own words, the drone affectees narrate what it is to live with loss and among the rubble left in the wake of a drone attack. Wounds injects the voices of those who have been labeled as “militants” or dismissed as “collateral damage” into the public debate on the US ‘war on terror.’ The screening will be followed by a discussion with Tahir, moderated by Vasuki Nesiah (Associate Professor of Practice, NYU Gallatin).


Madiha Tahir is an independent journalist and a doctoral candidate at Columbia University working on liberalism, media narratives, and war in the context of US drone attacks on Pakistan. Her journalistic work has appeared in several media outlets including PRI/BBC’s “The World”, Foreign Affairs, VICE, Democracy Now!, The New Inquiry, Guernica, The Wall Street Journal, Caravan, The National(UAE), Global Post, Left Turn, and The Columbia Journalism Review, among others. She has also co-edited a volume of essays Dispatches from Pakistan with Vijay Prashad and Qalandar Bux Memon and is one of the founding editors for Tanqeed.org.


Saturday, April 26, 2014, 5-6:30pm at the Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre for the Performing Arts, 1 Washington Place, main floor

Postcards from Tora Bora: Film screening and Discussion with Wazhmah Osman

Postcards is a personal documentary that shows the impact of three decades of war in Afghanistan from the point of view of people who have lived through it. In an attempt to understand her own family’s experiences of the Cold War, filmmaker Wazhmah Osman weaves in the stories of other Afghans, including women and children, who are coping with the daily effects of the subsequent Civil War and present day War on Terror. Using multi-media elements of super 8 home films, archival newsreel, and tourism ads, Postcards shows the devastation of war as well as makes larger socio-political and historical connections between the past and the present. For more information please check out http://www.postcardsfromtorabora.com/index.html. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Osman, moderated by Faye Ginsburg (Professor and Director of the NYU Center for Media, Culture and HIstory) and David B. Kriser (Professor of Anthropology, NYU).


Wazhmah Osman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Studies and Production at Temple University. She received her PhD and masters from New York University in the departments of Media, Culture, and Communication and Near Eastern Studies respectively. Her research focuses on global and transnational media, media development in conflict and post-conflict areas, democracy, and public sphere formation through the lenses of gender/sexuality, race/ethnicity, and class. In her multi-year and multi-regional ethnographic dissertation, “Thinking Outside the Box: Television and the Afghan Culture Wars”, she analyzes the impact of international funding of media in Afghanistan, its rapid proliferation, and the subsequent eruption of cultural contestations. Her work also investigates the politics of representation and visual culture of “The War On Terror” and “Afghan Women” and how they reverberate globally and locally in her native Afghanistan. Her critically acclaimed documentary, Postcards from Tora Bora, has screened in film festivals nationally and internationally.


Plenary panel (open to the public):

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 2-4pm at the Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre for the Performing Arts, 1 Washington Place, main floor

Featuring talks by:

GHOLAM KHIABANY Senior Lecturer, Department of Media and Communications Goldsmiths, University of London

Islamic Republic of Iran and Rediscovery of America

Gholam Khiabany is the author of Iranian Media: The Paradox of Modernity (Routledge, 2010), and co-author of Blogistan, with Annabelle Sreberny (I.B.Tauris, 2010). He is an editor of the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, and is a member of council of management of the Institute of Race Relations.

NIKHIL SINGH Associate Professor, Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University

Race, Crime and Police Power in the Making of US Empire

This talk considers the historical importance of racialized criminality (and criminalized racial difference) within US imperial culture. It specifically examines how historical precedents of ‘slave crime’ and ‘native crime’ are foundational to the development of American legal thinking and security regimes built upon expansive conceptions (and indeed an expansionist blurring) of anticipatory policing and preventive war.

Nikhil Pal Singh is Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History. A historian of race, empire, and culture in the 20th-century United States, Singh is the author of Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2004) and Climin’ Jacob’s Ladder; The Black Freedom Movement Writing of Jack O’Dell (California, 2010). Singh has published extensively on topics ranging from US liberalism to the role of race in US foreign policy. His new book Exceptional Empire: Race and War in US Globalism is in-progress and forthcoming from Harvard University Press.

NEFERTI TADIAR Professor and Chair of Women’s Studies, Barnard College

Dead Exchanges and the Potentials and Possibilities of Anti-Imperialism Today

Neferti X. M. Tadiar is Professor and Chair of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College. She is the author of Things Fall Away: Philippine Historical Experience and the Makings of Globalization (2009) and Fantasy-Production: Sexual Economies and Other Philippine Consequences for the New World Order (2004). Her current book project is entitled Remaindered Life: Becoming Human in a Time of War, a meditation on the disposability and surplus potential of life-making under present conditions of global empire.

YUEZHI ZHAO Canada Research Chair and Professor, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University

10 Reasons Why the Internet Has Not Brought China’s Counterrevolution

Despite all the high expectations, false starts, and the US imperial state’s “Internet Freedom” ideological offensive, a Chinese version of the “Twitter Revolution” or “Arab Spring” has not materialized as of spring 2014. What explains this “great divergence” between the trajectory of China’s post-Mao reform from that of the Soviet Union and former Eastern European communist countries then and that of Tunisia and Egypt now? This talk addresses this question by starting with Lin Chun’s following insight in China and Global Capitalism: “The very meaning of socialist ‘reform’ entails opposition to a wholesale capitalist transition; and any ‘revolution’ in the historically postrevolutionary context would logically denote counterrevolution.” The purpose, of course, is not to advance “Chinese exceptionalism,” but to challenge any teleology or technology inspired hope for a full scale “capitalist restoration” on the one hand and expose the folly of any imperial design on the other.

Dr. Yuezhi Zhao is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Political Economy of Global Communication at the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, where she is the Founding Director of the M.A. Double Degree Program in Global Communication. Dr. Zhao is also a Changjiang Chair Professor at the Communication University of China and a Senior Fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. Dr. Zhao’s work concerns both domestic Chinese communication politics and the role of media and information technologies in the global transformations linking to China’s real and imagined rise as a major political economic power. Her books include Communication and Society: Political Economic and Cultural Analysis (in Chinese, 2011), Communication in China: Political Economy, Power, and Conflict (2008), and Global Communications: Toward a Transcultural Political Economy (co-edited, 2008).

For additional information, please visit the Workshop on Infrastructures of Empire website.

Organizer: NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study
Venue: Multiple
See description for details
New York, NY 10003 United States
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Add to Calendar 04/25/2014 06:00 PM 04/26/2014 06:30 PM America/New_York Workshop on Infrastructures of Empire: Mediated Activism and (Counter) Revolutions More detail: https://apa.nyu.edu/event/workshop-on-infrastructures-of-empire-mediated-activism-and-counter-revolutions/ Multiple, New York, NY, 10003