This book presents an historical account of media and catastrophe that engages with theories of biopolitics in the work of Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri and others. It explains how responses to catastrophe in media and cultural criticism over the past 150 years are embedded in biological conceptions of life and death, contamination and immunity, race and species. Mediated catastrophe is often understood today in terms of collective memory and according to therapeutic or redemptive accounts of trauma. In contrast to these approaches this book emphasizes the use of media to record, archive and analyze physical appearance and movement; to capture viewer attention through shock; to monitor and control bodies in economies of production and consumption; to enmesh social relations in information networks; and situate subjects in discourses of victimhood, immunity, survival and resilience. Chapters are focused on historical case studies of early photography, Nazi propaganda, colonial stereotypes, Hiroshima, the Holocaust, the Cold War and the war on terror.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. The Biotype and the Anthropological Machine 2. Natural History and Nazi Media 3. Colonial Trauma and the Holocaust 4. The Biopolitical Imagination 5. The Immunity of Empire
Allen Meek is a Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Massey University, New Zealand. He is the author of Trauma and Media (Routledge 2010). He has recent chapters on trauma, catastrophe and biopolitics in The Fourth Eye: Maori Media in Aotearoa (2013) and Film on the Fault Line (2015).