Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Research & business

Research lectures, seminars and events

The events listed in this area are research seminars, workshops and lectures hosted by Durham University departments and research institutes. If you are not a member of the University, but  wish to enquire about attending one of the events please contact the organiser or host department.


 

April 2019
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
March 2019 May 2019
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30

Events for 24 April 2019

Oliver Belcher: Sensing, Territory, Population: Computation, Embodied Sensing, and Hamlet Control in the Vietnam War

6:00pm, Holgate Room, Grey College

This presentation analyses a mid-twentieth century computerized pacification reporting system, the Hamlet Evaluation System (HES), used by the US military to measure hamlet-level security and development trends in the Vietnam War. The significance of the HES was its capacity to translate US Military Advisor observations of Vietnamese hamlet life into a machine-readable computer format used by US military systems analysts to disclose 'patterns of life.' I show how US Military Advisors operated as 'embodied sensors' within the HES, producing a distinctive location-based event ontology - a 'view of below' - accompanied by rudimentary digital maps in-formation from incoming hamlet-level observation streams. I argue that acts of translating the rich texture of hamlet and village life into an objectified information format constituted a unique form of 'epistemic violence,' rooted not so much in the narrative subjection of the 'Other,' but in the pure abstraction of life into a digitally stored data trace.

Contact innovative.computing@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.