Distant Wars Visible: The Ambivalence of Witnessing
In our wired world, visual images of military conflict and political strife are ubiquitous. Far less evident, far more elusive, is how we see such images, how witnessing military violence and suffering affects us. Distant Wars Visible brings a new perspective to such enduring questions about conflict photography and other forms of visual advocacy, whether in support of U. S. military objectives or in critique of the nation at war. At the book’s center is what author Wendy Kozol calls an analytic of ambivalence—a critical approach to the tensions between spectacle and empathy provoked by gazing at military violence and suffering. Through this approach, Distant Wars Visible uses key concepts such as the politics of recoil, the notion of looking elsewhere, skeptical documents, and ethical spectatorship to analyze multiple visual cultural practices depicting war, on and off the battlefield, from the 1999 NATO bombings in Kosovo to the present. Kozol’s analysis ranges across collections of family photographs, human rights photography, independent film production, photojournalism, and other forms of war’s visual culture, as well as extensive visual evidence of the ways in which U.S. militarism operates to maintain geopolitical dominance—from Fallujah and Abu Ghraib to the most recent drone strikes in Pakistan.
Kozol, Wendy. Distant Wars Visible: The Ambivalence of Witnessing. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014.
University of Minnesota Press
Comparative American Studies
War photography, War in mass media, War--Press coverage, Photojournalism--Political aspects, Visual communication--Political aspects