Intimate Attunements: Legacies of Sonar and Sexual Surveillance on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula
Alix Johnson (UC Santa Cruz)
February 5, 3:30pm
EV. 10.625 Concordia University
*The talk is co-organized by Ethnography Lab and Global Emergent Media Lab
At the height of the Cold War on the Reykjanes peninsula of Iceland, the American navy built a cutting-edge network of sonar equipment to surveil Russian submarines. Just across the road, in the small fishing town of Keflavík, Icelandic men employed more intimate tactics in surveiling Icelandic women suspected of dating American men. Separated then, by a thin gravel highway, two communities of watchers on the North Atlantic peninsula set their anxious attention on tracking an other for their own gain. By telling these parallel practices together, this talk asks how global infrastructures work through local formations of difference, and makes a case for thinking with uneven intimacies in theorizing technological surveillance today.
Alix Johnson is a visiting scholar at Concordia University’s Ethnography Lab, a Fellow with the American Council of Learned Societies, and a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her work is broadly concerned with querying infrastructures and imaginaries of global connection, and has appeared in Imaginations Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies, Allegra Lab, and Anthrodendum.