Watching Babylon: The War in Iraq and Global Visual Culture, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Watching Babylon

The War in Iraq and Global Visual Culture, 1st Edition

By Nicholas Mirzoeff


216 pages | 15 B/W Illus.

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Groundbreaking and compelling, Watching Babylon examines the experience of watching the war against Iraq on television, on the internet, in the cinema and in print media.

Mirzoeff shows how the endless stream of images flowing from the Gulf has necessitated a new form of visual thinking, one which recognises that the war has turned images themselves into weapons. Drawing connections between the history and legend of ancient Babylon, the metaphorical Babylon of Western modernity, and everyday life in the modern suburb of Babylon, New York, Mirzoeff explores ancient concerns which have found new resonance in the present day.

In the tradition of Walter Benjamin, Watching Babylon illuminates the Western experience of the Iraqi war and makes us re-examine the very way we look at images of conflict.


"A tour de force by perhaps the most inventive--certainly the most wide-ranging-- practitioner of visual culture analysis in the world today. Focusing on the deadly vacuity of the Iraq Invasion, Mirzoeff describes the global media war with an unusually subtle attentiveness to its visual dimensions. More importantly, he situates his response inside a broader picturing of how globalizing capital and resurgent nation states are creating what he calls 'an empire of camps." - Terry Smith, University of Pittsburgh

Table of Contents

1. Babylonian Modernity 2. The Empire of Camps 3. Babylon: Long Island 4. Of Wars, Ancient and Modern

About the Author

Nicholas Mirzoeff is Associate Professor of Art at Stony Brook University. He is the author of Bodyscape; Art, Modernity and the Ideal Figure (1995) and An Introduction to Visual Culture (1999), and the editor of The Visual Culture Reader (second edition 2002)

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies