- April 21 – April 22, 2014
The Archives and Special Collections in collaboration with the Dodd Center and Booklyn Artists Alliance, are hosting two days of events on War, Struggle and Visual Politics: Art on the Frontlines. Events will be held in the Dodd Research Center on April 21st and 22nd in conjunction with the Week In Humanities. Artists Seth Tobocman, Stephen Dupont, Marshall Weber, Chantelle Bateman and Aaron Hughes will be holding talks, workshops and presenting artwork around the focus of politics and activism in art and war. Students, community members, veterans and artists are encouraged to attend these events to provide a dynamic facilitation of how we utilize art, activism and memory to cope with war.
Art work will be on display in galleries as follows:
Aaron Hughes : Institute for the Humanities : College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Seth Tobocman : Contemporary Art Gallery : School of Fine Art
Stephen Dupont : Coop Bookstore : Downtown Stores
For a full list of events, please follow this link for the Week in Humanities.
I am a senior Political Science Major, with minors in history and human rights. I initially chose my internship with the Dodd Archives because of its unique holdings. Most famously, the Nuremburg Trial Papers have been examined by many scholars for the fundamental groundwork they laid for human rights advocates. As one of the youngest members of the millennial generation and one of the last children to remember watching the 9/11 attacks on television I feel a certain draw towards researching the Middle East. Furthermore, my involvement with the human rights program at the university has given me a distinctive outlook on international foreign involvement in the Middle East. The Arab Spring began while I was in my first year of undergraduate studies, and has continued to make headlines since. As a historian and political scientist I have noticed that the American population seems to have a short-term memory when it comes to American involvement abroad. I will attempt to remedy this phenomenon through my posts by concentrating on linking historical to contemporary international involvement in the region.
The Arms Trade of the Middle East: A Primer, by Howard H. Frederick
Towards the end of the 1970’s the Middle East was going through a transformative period. This transformation was facilitated principally by the unrestricted and indiscriminate selling of weapons from the United States and NATO allies and USSR into the region. The Arms Trade of the Middle East: A Primer, by Howard H. Frederick published in 1977 extensively details the arms trade between Western and Soviet regimes to the authoritarian monarchs of the Middle East.
The underlying problem with the arms trade outlined by Frederick in the periodical is the military industrial complex in place during the Cold War produced a need for selling American weapons around the world to benefit domestic defense contractors. One candid figure quoted by Frederick estimated the sale of one jet fighter earns back more dollars than the sale of one thousand automobiles. However, once weapons are sold to allies or enemies alike they become commodities on the world market. The following excerpt illustrates the totalizing system of the global commodity arms exchange:
Jordan sold American fighter aircraft and defense systems as well as British tanks to South Africa. British arms bought in New Zealand are being used by Irish Republican Army against British soldiers. US arms left over from Vietnam were sold at a Bangkok auction to a French dealer who in turn sold them to the rightist militias in Lebanon. US arms sold to Israel were used by Lebanese rightwing militias.
-Christian Science Monitor, August 25, 1976
Thanks to diligent journalism and investigation at the Guardian, recent breaking news on the National Security Agency’s data mining of Verizon phone records is out in the open. But can we as users do anything about it? Surveilling journalist’s telephone calls and sequestering records of Verizon subscribers sounds like a major violation of constitutional rights in the United States…Well, it’s not. What everyday users of cell phones believe to be relevant information transferred over the phone is technically protected, however raw data of the call itself – 101001 – is not. The Bush Administration’s initiation of the War on Terror and the tide of privacy legislation that came with it continues as the old war measures acts have been used to justify data collection in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing.
From an archival standpoint, a major concern lies in the potentially lucrative contracts which the NSA and private phone companies make in order to exchange call logs for network dominance. Arguably, phone companies which record call logs have the largest collection of involuntary census data ever recorded. The collusion between the world’s largest surveillance organization (NSA/CIA) and potentially the world’s broadest data transfer company (Verizon) challenges uses of everyday communication and re-frames what counts as “relevant” information. The embedded metadata within digital call logs has use-value from individualized surveillance to big data monitoring of towns and neighborhoods. The early 21st century fears about micro-chipping and the New World Order got it half right, things have data trails. The other half revolves around accountable data collection and consent based records creation. To extrapolate from the census record, this information is very important for historians, health research, sociological data, etc.; however, the right to opt out is always present. Through privatized cell-towers and data plans, the company owns your record as well as your rights to say no to data collection. When telecommunications signs away the users right to be recorded to the NSA, profit based record creation in late capitalism has dire implications for privacy.
From the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, the Dodd Center has invited John G. Ruggie to speak at its annual Sackler Lecture. Prof. Ruggie will speak on the topic of Principles in Business with regards to Human Rights. The press release of the upcoming event can be found here.
For information on how corporate responsibility has played out over the last 50 years, please consult our collections on Human Rights for topics on labor practice and Alternative Press collection for the environmental impact of business, particularly Roberto Romano’s digital photograph collection.