Photography and the Bio-politics of Fear: Witnessing the Philippine Drug War
Under the regime of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, the so-called drug war in the Philippines has exacted an enormous toll. In this essay, I inquire into one of the earliest and most graphic responses to this war: the work of photojournalists and the plurality of responses to their images. How does photojournalism become a kind of advocacy by becoming a mode of mourning? How are trauma and grieving braided together in the experience of photographers covering war? What is the fate of photographic images once they travel beyond the control of photographers? For example, among the family of victims, how do they see the photographs of the dead? Indeed, how has the drug war, by instilling a government of fear, transformed their ways of seeing? What becomes of notions of justice amid images of injustice under a regime of fear?
Vicente L. Rafael is the Giovanni and Amne Costigan Professor in History at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is the author of several works on the cultural politics of the Philippines including Contracting Colonialism, White Love and Other Events in Filipino History, The Promise of the Foreign, and Motherless Tongues, all published by Duke University Press.
Light refreshments will be provided at the reception.
Allan E. S. Lumba, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of History
413 Major Williams Hall