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CRA


Talk: Thomas Keenan on “Making Claims with Images”
16 January 2017

LAPD beating of motorist Rodney King captured on camcorder by George Halliday, 3 March 1991.

Video evidence of apparent injustice is often treated as incontrovertible. But sometimes, as advocates say, it 'doesn't work.' The first trial of Rodney King's assailants seems to be a good example: pioneering citizen video of police brutality and 'yet' an acquittal. Looking back after many years, in the age of Black Lives Matter, how do we understand the forensic function of televisual or citizen video? We cannot take its 'working' for granted -- there is always work for us to do with it. Claims need to be made *with* images. Examining three compelling readings of the King tape (Felman, Butler, Ronell), Keenan looks at the limits and possibilities of making claims for human rights with videotape.

Thomas Keenan teaches literary theory and human rights at Bard College, where he directs the Human Rights Project.