Katherine Chandler, "Unmanning: How Humans, Machines and Media Perform Drone Warfare" (Rutgers UP, 2020)

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Katherine Chandler's Unmanning: How Humans, Machines and Media Perform Drone Warfare (Rutgers UP, 2020) studies the conditions that create unmanned platforms in the United States through a genealogy of experimental, pilotless planes flown between 1936 and 1992. Characteristics often attributed to the drone--including machine-like control, enmity and remoteness--are achieved by displacements between humans and machines that shape a mediated theater of war. Rather than primarily treating the drone as a result of the war on terror, this book examines contemporary targeted killing through a series of failed experiments to develop unmanned flight in the twentieth century. The human, machine and media parts of drone aircraft are organized to make an ostensibly not human framework for war that disavows its political underpinnings as technological advance. These experiments are tied to histories of global control, cybernetics, racism and colonialism. Drone crashes and failures call attention to the significance of human action in making technopolitics that comes to be opposed to "man" and the paradoxes at their basis.

Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. To discuss and propose the book for an interview you can reach her at galina.limorenko@epfl.ch.

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