[SydPhil] [UWS seminar] Des Manderson: Three episodes from the scopic regime of sovereignty

Philosophy@UWS Philosophy at uws.edu.au
Mon Jul 29 10:28:19 AEST 2013

Philosophy Seminars 2013
The Writing and Society Research Centre and Philosophy at UWS present:

Professor Desmond Manderson
Future Fellow, ANU College of Law / Research School of Humanities & Arts
Australian National University, Canberra Australia

Title: Three episodes from the scopic regime of sovereignty

Date/Time: Wednesday 7 August, 3.30 pm - 5.00 pm

Place: University of Western Sydney, Bankstown Campus, Building 3, Room 3.G.54  [How to get to Bankstown Campus]<http://www.uws.edu.au/campuses_structure/cas/campuses/bankstown>

'The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses'-Walter Benjamin.

Visual culture is subject to 'scopic regimes' which, at different times and places, govern how we read and make sense of images.  Since the US Civil War, the photography of war has played a pivotal role in constructing these regimes. But the relationships between image, spectator, and subject have not remained static. Tracing these structural and aesthetic transformations allows us to understand how changing scopic regimes differently frame the justification, implications, and limits of the exercise of sovereign power and more generally organize our on-going relationship to legal authority and our own legal subjectivity. How violence and death abroad is depicted and mediated is not unrelated to how it is depicted and mediated in everyday life; the images that present the exercise of sovereign power in war are not unrelated to the terms on which it may be questioned at home. This essay focuses on three episodes from that history, focusing on the sharpest contrasts and developments in the visual discourse of sovereignty-between the US Civil War and World War I, on the one hand, and between those two periods and contemporary representations of war on the other. Together the dimensions of temporality, affect, and judgment position the viewer in relation to sovereign violence and help to construct social norms around sovereignty, accountability, and responsibility. In particular the function and structure of war imagery has notably modified in recent years, implicating us in profoundly new relationships to politics, technology, and sovereignty.

Desmond Manderson is a pioneering figure in interdisciplinary scholarship in law and the humanities.
He is the author of several books including From Mr Sin to Mr Big (1993); Songs Without Music: Aesthetic dimensions of law and justice (2000); Proximity, Levinas, and the Soul of Law (2006); Essays on Levinas and Law (2009); and Kangaroo Courts and the Rule of Law-The legacy of modernism (2012).

For the entire 2013 program of the Philosophy seminar series at UWS see: http://www.uws.edu.au/philosophy/philosophy@uws/events/research_seminars_2013
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Mariana Fragueiro
Administration Coordinator, Philosophy Research Initiative
University of Western Sydney
Bankstown Campus Building 5
Locked Bag 1797
Penrith NSW  2751
+61 2 9772 6190

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