After a Year of Being Locked Down

Nobody (as far as I know) has commented on how hard this year of lockdowns has been on university professors. That’s good: nobody should. Many millions of workers at home and abroad, and those who have lost employment, or their health, have had a far worse time. In part because of COVID-19, and in even larger part because of the disproportional political responses that were rooted in neither science nor logic, but rather an effort to criminalize and distract populations, the world has experienced an infernal year. It is not yet over, even as a couple of countries in the Centre/the First World/the Global North begin to reopen. In most other countries, the situation remains dire, and in quite a few it is even worsening. New states of emergency, new curfews, and some particularly virulent strains of the virus (particularly the Brazilian and Indian mutations), combined with porous borders and inept state management, result in Year Two of misery. If one has faith in the efficacy and safety of mRNA treatments called vaccines, then one should note how uneven and unequal the global distribution of these products has been, a fact that brings back to life what never really went away: a worldwide division between Centre and Periphery. “The coming year could be a story of two worlds undermining each other,” as explained in an article in The Atlantic. It will be 2022 already when vaccines will become available to more than just 20% of the world’s population, and in the meantime populations in most of the world are dealing with sometimes monstrous mutations.

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Goodbye “American Greatness”

Part 3 of 5 of the COVID-19 Series. Indispensable. Here was the so-called “indispensable nation,” the self-appointed saviour of the world, with generations of its leaders and thinkers thinking, speaking, and writing as if God had appointed “America” to lead the world. A world without America, we were told by Americans, would be so much […]

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Girls, Groupies, and Grim Reapers: The Religious Politics of Mass Response

Following a week at the UN and ensuing climate change “protests” (state-sanctioned, party-approved, media-praised, university-endorsed, “protests”), in which we were yet again treated to another spectacle of a tearful child lecturing adults, Murad Gazdiev presented the excellent critical analysis of climate change eschatology above. We are even called by the media to “confess our climate […]

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America: Imagine an America without Her

What might world history have looked like if there had never been a United States, or if it ceased to exist before the 20th-century? Is “America” an “exceptional” nation, an “idea” even, that stands as a beacon of hope to the rest of the world? Is “America” largely innocent of the crimes of genocide, slavery, […]

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The WikiLeaks Case: Democracy Dies in Empire

In the avalanche of news reports that have washed over the globe since the abduction of Julian Assange, this conversation struck me as containing numerous points of importance. It seemed worthwhile to have some of these points transcribed and listed here. If you have seen it, then the select transcriptions beneath the video might serve […]

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Realism or Iconography? The Pentagon’s Implicit Theory of Visual Representation

The following is an extract from my chapter, “A Flickr of Militarization: Photographic Regulation, Symbolic Consecration, and the Strategic Communication of ‘Good Intentions’,” published in Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Imperial Humanitarianism (Montreal: Alert Press, 2014), pp. 185-279: US military documents make it quite clear that, for the military, a photograph is a straightforward, […]

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The US Military as Great Chief, Father, Doctor, and Babysitter

The following is an extract from my chapter, “A Flickr of Militarization: Photographic Regulation, Symbolic Consecration, and the Strategic Communication of ‘Good Intentions’,” published in Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Imperial Humanitarianism (Montreal: Alert Press, 2014), pp. 185-279: In 2009 the Department of the Army produced a field manual titled, “Visual Information Operations” (US […]

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The Visual Imperium

The following is an extract from my chapter, “A Flickr of Militarization: Photographic Regulation, Symbolic Consecration, and the Strategic Communication of ‘Good Intentions’,” published in Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Imperial Humanitarianism (Montreal: Alert Press, 2014), pp. 185-279: One of the possibly more fruitful areas of inquiry to come out of studies of contemporary […]

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Pentagon Photography and Visual Anthropology

Could it be any more obvious how the Pentagon has learned to mimic certain styles of anthropological photography as shown in the instance above? Resembling any of a vast number of photographs of or by anthropologists, such as famous ones of Bronislaw Malinowski and Margaret Mead “in the field,” this one also features the note-taking […]

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Encircling Empire: Report #24—Regime Change

In this report, our first for 2014, the reader will find links and article extracts for a selection of some of the very best resources to have been published online, focusing on the topic of regime change, along with an extended essay on Imperialism and Democracy. Here we address the current cases of Venezuela and Ukraine, and […]

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Book Review: Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya – Lessons for Africa in the Forging of African Unity, by Horace Campbell

In October 2011, days after the brutal murder of the Libyan Leader, Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, NATO General Secretary, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, declared that the NATO mission in Libya had been one of the most successful in NATO’s history. In his new book, Professor Horace Campbell sets out to analyse that claim, and to analyse the […]

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