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CAS Luncheon Series
Thursday, March 12 at 12:30pm
CASE Building, Room W311
with Darren Byler

This talk examines the role of surveillance technologies in a Turkic Muslim “reeducation” camp system in Northwest China to make a broader argument about a turn toward sociotechnical security systems around the world. It considers the roles played by qualitative data collection, digital media surveillance and biometric control in the rise of what it names terror capitalism—counter-insurgency industrial apparatus that centers on epistemic transformation. Drawing on two years of ethnographic research, interviews with intelligence workers and former detainees, and analysis of internal police reports, this talk shows that intelligence workers in China have extended the logic of U.S. counter-insurgency and countering violent extremism theory to produce general technologies of social transformation. It argues that such sociotechnical security systems create their own regimes of truth which radically reduce the autonomy of targeted populations, while, simultaneously, they are haunted by the realities they try to obscure and their own data.  

A light lunch will be served.

Darren Byler is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Asian Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder.