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Kate Hall, "Experimental Air Power: Early Drone Programs and the Emergence of Lethal Surveillance"
Kate Hall, "Experimental Air Power: Early Drone Programs and the Emergence of Lethal Surveillance"
WhenFriday, Nov. 17, 2017, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Campus locationCommunications Building (CMU)
Campus room202
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsSimpson Center, Center for Global Studies, and the Geography Department
Target Audiencefaculty and students

Contemporary drone wars reflect a longer history of drone technology development over the course of the 20th century.  From weaponized drones created by the US and UK to unmanned intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft produced by the US military in the early Cold War and the Vietnam War, the history of the drone reveals important "lines of descent"  in the practices of targeting and killing that shape today's drone strikes and the emergence of lethal surveillance. In this talk, Kate Hall, a postdoctoral fellow with the Dartmouth College Society of Fellows, discusses the early development of drone programs in the UK, and in particular the Larynx drone project, which worked toward building an armed pilotless aircraft. While ultimately not a successful project, the Larynx went through a series of live experimental tests in Iraq in the late 1920s. The case of the Larynx illustrates important intersections of colonial control and scientific experimentation that influenced how the aircraft was envisioned and deployed, and points us toward the longer modern histories of scientific development and Western violence that contemporary practices of targeting emerge from.  Drawing on science and technology studies and scholarship on violence and colonialism, Hall shows how the Larynx project evolved within a particular historical geography of colonial governance and air power, and further how this history shapes our understanding of the expansion of done wars in the 20th century to areas outside of "traditional" war zones, such as Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

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