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Departmental Seminar Series: Oliver Belcher, Doctoral Candidate, University of British Columbia, and Visiting Scholar, University of Oulu, Finland
Oliver Belcher, Doctoral Candidate, University of British Columbia, and Visiting Scholar, University of Oulu, Finland
"Number and Difference: Data-coding the Insurgent in U.S. Military Intelligence"
Abstract: In this paper, I interrogate the performativity of data-coding as it relates to US military intelligence in counterinsurgency operations in southern and eastern Afghanistan. The US military has invested heavily in computationally-based methods for modelling "cultural intelligence" in Afghanistan, particularly through the use of dynamic network analysis. This presentation discusses the epistemological and methodological presuppositions at work in US mission intelligence, as well as the predictive modes through which insurgent activity is modeled and acted upon in so-called "battle-space". If an empirical referent--in this case "insurgent activity"--is both a condition and consequence of knowledge practices (Foucault 1969; Daston and Galison 2007), this paper asks how networks (that is, pattern recognitions) are constructed in southern Afghanistan as a particular kind of militarized way-of-seeing.
Chair: Andrew Baldwin
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