Faculty Writing: On the Image of Global Empire, and Communists Turned Informers

Just out in The New York Review, BISR faculty Jessie Kindig examines photographer An-My Lê’s rendering of the hidden traces of global imperialism. Lê’s work takes stock of U.S. Navy ships, soldiers in combat training in the Mojave Desert, and war reenactors in Virginia—none of which, in Kindig’s reading, are framed with didacticism or readily-perceived ideology. Though war permeates her work, Kindig notes, Lê’s “subject matter extends far beyond the ‘war zone’ to the bases, bars, stories, and erotic fantasies that create shadow worlds and connect disparate geographies.”

And then, Samantha Hill, writing in Commonweal, reexamines, seventy years on, Hannah Arendt’s articulation of the “ex-Communist mentality” in the context of today’s “New Right.” Hill notes that the modern right-winger shares a Manichaean sense of good and evil with the Cold War communists-turned-informers who abandoned the cause. The ex-communist retains the same tactic after shifting their allegiance, “where before they justified totalitarian means to reach Communist ends, they now justify the same means to reach anti-Communist ones.”

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