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Digital witnessing and the erasure of the racialized subject

Awan, Nishat; (2021) Digital witnessing and the erasure of the racialized subject. Journal of Visual Culture , 20 (3) pp. 506-521. 10.1177/14704129211061182. Green open access

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Humanitarian agencies are relying more frequently on remote sensing, satellite imagery and social media to produce accounts of violence. Their analysis aims at creating more compelling narratives for the court of law or of public opinion and has contributed towards a forensic turn, thus complicating the already fraught relationship between the practice of witnessing and political subjects. This article explores how digital witnessing allows us to ‘see’ further and deeper into places that are at a distance from us, whilst at the same time creating the conditions that make certain subjects recede from view. I will discuss these issues in relation to a country I am familiar with and one that has been central to the forensic imagination – Pakistan – although the particular geographies within Pakistan that this imagination works with are not mine. Thinking with non-linear temporalities of violence, I explore how the forensic turn may have actually contributed to the erasure of the racialized political subject.

Type: Article
Title: Digital witnessing and the erasure of the racialized subject
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/14704129211061182
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/14704129211061182
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: digital modelling, forensics, testimonies, violence, witnessing
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10150573
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