My interest here is in what these movies try to say about the world and the place of violence — evil or righteous – in it. As American films in a world where the United States still possesses more military firepower than any other country (as example, in 2016 the US defence budget nearly topped the next fifteen largest national defence budgets combined), it is difficult not to view these films as metaphors for US power, regardless of the various nationalities of the characters. The launching point for these thoughts is Wonder Woman: the first female-led superhero movie, notably directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins. One could examine the film, as many have, from a feminist perspective, in which the film appears as a triumph of female power. More interesting to me is, given the amount of violence on display in the genre, what does a film want to say about violence? In this, Wonder Woman is a serious backward step from the emerging trend of more established superhero franchises that have recently projected a sense of unease about the inevitable harms and trade-offs that come with reliance on destructive force.Continue Reading →
This is the second half of a two part extended version of an essay published in the London Review of Books (39:12, 15 June 2017, pp. 9-12).
There’s another blind spot which is even more remarkable: the neglect of starvation by genocide scholars. It’s striking because the intellectual father of genocide studies, Rafael Lemkin, was […]Continue Reading →
This is the first half of a two part extended version of an essay published in the London Review of Books (39:12, 15 June 2017, pp. 9-12).
In its primary use, the verb ‘to starve’ is transitive: something people do to one another, like torture or murder. Mass starvation on account of the weather has […]Continue Reading →
My research over the past year has returned to a topic I once spent a great deal of time thinking about: memorial museums. And so I took advantage of a recent trip to New York City to tour, for the first time, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.
The events of September 11th – […]Continue Reading →
Claire Smith, a political scientist at York University and one of our collaborators on the how mass atrocities end project, has a new article out. In it, she examines the role of military intervention in Indonesia, placing it in context of other factors that helped produce an ending in East Timor. Below is the […]Continue Reading →
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