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Communicating in the Deathscapes of the War on Terror


My current book project weaves together performance studies, communication theory, and critical race theory to analyze political violence in the Global War on Terror. Titled Communicating in the Deathscapes of the War on Terror, my book argues that to understand political violence, we need to closely read how acts of violence are conceived, enacted, and received as communication acts. Focusing on public spectacles of violence in the recent US-led conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the book analyzes a wide range of communication acts used in war, including the performative speech acts of politicians seeking to legalize torture, western media coverage of public executions in Afghan stadiums, and live performances by artists from Afghan and Iraqi diasporas that strove to memorialize, grieve, or protest the deaths of loved ones and community members. Situating these actions in the racialized geography of the War on Terror, the book contributes to current debates on racism and biopolitics, Islamophobia and the mechanics of social exclusion, and the ethics of representing violence.


This project has received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and sections of it have been recognized with prizes from the Canadian Association for Theatre Research and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. I am preparing a book proposal and will approach publishers this summer.


Chapter summary:

1. Communication Acts in the Deathscapes of the War on Terror

2. New Racisms and Global Necroperformance: Hyper-Violent Speech Acts

3. The Performative Gap in the Law: Omar Khadr and Homo Sacer

4. The Shock and Awe of the Real: Amateur Videography in Kabul

5. Skin is Faster Than the Word: Yasiin Bey on YouTube

6. Hoax Warfare: Drones, Watchtowers, and a Giant Rubber Duck

7. Crip Nationalism and Queer State Terrorism

8. Camouflage and Clarity: Visibility in Afghanistan and Iraq

9. Shakespeare in Guantánamo Bay

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