Announcing the 2012 Peter Lyman Fellow

07 Mar, 2012

Announcing the 2012 Peter Lyman Fellow

The Peter Lyman Graduate Fellowship in New Media, established in the memory of esteemed UC Berkeley Professor Peter Lyman, provides a summer stipend to a UC Berkeley PhD candidate to support the writing of his or her PhD dissertation on a topic related to New Media. Established with gifts from friends, faculty, Prof. Barrie Thorne, and Sage Publications.

BCNM is delighted to announce that this year’s Peter Lyman Fellow is Katherine Chandler, Ph.D. Candidate in Rhetoric, D.E. in New Media

Research Abstract: "Unmanned Aerial Systems: The United States’ Techno-Political Entanglements in the Post-Cold War"

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) transmit live-video and sensor data from unmanned aircraft to pilot and sensor operators who can be thousands of miles away from the vehicle and carry out attack missions by remote control. The aircraft rely on artificial intelligence to respond to their environment, as well as advanced communication and imaging systems to link them to human controllers. UAS are deployed by the United States Armed Forces and Central Intelligence Agency for surveillance, reconnaissance, targeted air-strikes, and force protection. At the outset of 2012, the Department of Defense announced thirty-one percent of all aerial systems were unmanned, five times more than in 2005. This change underscored UAS’ increasing worldwide significance; in the past 10 years, systems deployed by the United States have killed terrorist targets in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, and Somalia, as well as civilians. Discussions in the United States of the ethical and political consequences of these attacks, however, have not been widespread.

Chandler's dissertation aims to open up possibilities for these conversations by examining the genealogy of contemporary UAS. She highlight how this seemingly new military paradigm is rooted in technological, military, industrial, and scientific developments that began in the early twentieth-century. This research draws on methodologies from science and technology studies, new media, and political theory. Concerns raised by unmanned aerial systems simultaneously call for a re-examination of how politics and technologies map onto each other in the post-Cold War era and their global consequences.

The Lyman fellowship will give Chandler the opportunity to further investigate the questions raised by her dissertation project. She will use the award to conduct archival research about UAS at the National Archives and the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C., Department of Defense Library in Ft. Belvoir in Virginia and Air Force Museum and Library at Wright Air Force Base in Ohio.