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  • Acknowledgments  ix
    Introduction. Aerial Aftermaths  1
    1. Surveying Wartime Aftermaths: The First Military Survey of Scotland  34
    2. Balloon Geography: The Emotion of Motion in Aerostatic Wartime  68
    3. La Nature à Coup d'Oeil: "Seeing All" in Early Panoramas  104
    4. Mapping "Mesopotamia": Aerial Photography in Early Twentieth-Century Iraq  138
    5. The Politics of the Sensible: Aerial Photography's Wartime Aftermaths  180
    Afterword. Sensing Distance  207
    Notes  217
    Works Cited  255
    Index  277
  • "Caren Kaplan's Aerial Aftermaths is a brilliant and wide-ranging examination of aerial ways of seeing and the history of the technologies employed when it comes to representing that which can be observed from on high. From the exploits of early aeronauts, military mapping, and what is seen and sensed through panoramic paintings to aerial surveying as a means of colonial governance and more, Kaplan's absorbing analysis is unmatched in its depth. With far-reaching implications for the study of visual culture and, crucially, how we interrogate the violence of drones and remote warfare, Aerial Aftermaths is essential reading." — Simone Browne, author of, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness

    “Caren Kaplan’s Aerial Aftermaths is the leading work in an important new crossover field between visual studies, science and technology studies, and critical theory of geography. Not since Anne Friedberg’s The Virtual Window have we seen such a richly researched and theorized media archaeology of technologies of visuality. This is the account of ‘objective’ seeing from above that critical technoscience studies readers have been waiting for since Donna Haraway held forth against this ocular ‘God trick’ almost thirty years ago. Kaplan’s book comes at a time when we urgently need the kind of historical insight she offers about the geopolitical and military technologics that inform the myriad contemporary global systems through which surveillance and control are enforced.” — Lisa Cartwright, coauthor of, Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture

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  • Description

    From the first vistas provided by flight in balloons in the eighteenth century to the most recent sensing operations performed by military drones, the history of aerial imagery has marked the transformation of how people perceived their world, better understood their past, and imagined their future. In Aerial Aftermaths Caren Kaplan traces this cultural history, showing how aerial views operate as a form of world-making tied to the times and places of war. Kaplan’s investigation of the aerial arts of war—painting, photography, and digital imaging—range from England's surveys of Scotland following the defeat of the 1746 Jacobite rebellion and early twentieth-century photographic mapping of Iraq to images taken in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Throughout, Kaplan foregrounds aerial imagery's importance to modern visual culture and its ability to enforce colonial power, demonstrating both the destructive force and the potential for political connection that come with viewing from above.

    About The Author(s)

    Caren Kaplan is Professor of American Studies at the University of California, Davis, and the author and editor of several books including Life in the Age of Drone Warfare, also published by Duke University Press.
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