Group AB independent group meeting and progress update (Sebastian, Kayoko, Ares, Greta and Kistina)

Following the successful merger of Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B’, this week we made important strides towards nailing down the scope and content of our research for the presentation.

Firstly, we agreed upon the following research question (which may be subject to minor tweaking in the week to come): How has media documentation of war in the US differed from that of conflicting states?

Because our central theme is War, we looked into defining the term in our own specific disciplines (Sebastian – Geography; Kistina – Politics; Kayoko & Greta – History; Ares – Philosophy) and found that it can mean many different things depending on through the lens that it is seen from. Because of this, we settled on 3 wide and varied case studies of ‘war’, being:

  • 1945 US atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima
  • 1991 Gulf War between the US and its NATO allies against Iraq and the Saddam regime
  • Climate Change rhetoric within the US and other states as a war between the earth and its inhabitants

We agreed that each case study would be analysed by looking at the messages portrayed/documented by mass media outlets in the US versus those of the public (e.g. social or independent media) and from outside the US. Granted, this is quite a large scope so we will be looking to refine this in the weeks to come. We agreed on a loose allocation of work with respect to the case studies, which is the following:

  • Sebastian: 1991 Gulf War
  • Kayoko & Ares: 1945 Hiroshima
  • Kistina & Greta: Climate Change

These are all subject to change as we have not started specific research yet. In addition, as Kistina mentioned in the previous update, we will also be looking at aspects of ‘media theory’ to help us with the research and the analysis of each case study.

Overall, this week’s meeting was very successful as we settled on our case studies and approaches. We have come pretty far in a short space of time, taking the merger of our groups into account and will build on this for our supervised meeting commencing week 5.

2 thoughts on “Group AB independent group meeting and progress update (Sebastian, Kayoko, Ares, Greta and Kistina)

  1. Hello all,

    Your choice of documentation to be examined seems topical and has lots of potential due to the always (geo)politically charged nature of recording and documenting war, the 1991 Gulf War containing many great examples of this tension. I am especially drawn to your examination of climate change as a form of warfare against ‘the earth’, a view which has many implications and is championed by certain strands of climate advocacy more than others depending on ideas of our (humanities’) place in the world, the inherent worth of nature, among others.

    To give a sense of what a ‘war-like’ documentation of climate change might look like, as well as what criticism might be levelled at it, you could look at the original 2003 US Pentagon report that first identified climate change as conducive to national security threats – https://eesc.columbia.edu/courses/v1003/readings/Pentagon.pdf – as well as this opinion piece on similar warnings by the Australian senate in 2018 – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/04/dont-turn-to-the-military-to-solve-the-climate-change-crisis.

    Hope these resources prove useful to you and that your work continues to move in interesting and critical directions as it has so far!

    Stefan

  2. Hi all,

    It is great to see your project making lots of strides forward, and the research question you have settled on (subject to potential minor revisions, of course) is a good one. We can talk about these things tomorrow, but a few further things that will be worth discussing to help move things even further forward:

    (1) With the (perhaps simplistic) assumption that each of the conflicts has two “sides”, this would mean there are (at least) six “sides” to research and present. This is quite a lot – and as you acknowledge, this is quite a large scope. In addition, insofar as your research presentation will ultimately formulate some argument based on your research, appropriate case study selection is important. What might you expect to get from a comparison of these three things? What is the reason for these cases, rather than others? It is important that there are good grounds/reason for choosing particular cases to compare.

    (2) In addition, there may be the potential issue of finding some source material. How will you find, access, and read, for example, sources depicting “public” viewpoints for the 1991 Gulf War?

    (3) We can talk more about framing, too, especially after you have began to dig into the research a bit more: but I wonder if the question could potentially be made more specific. Is there a particular relationship you want to explore/research ? Or a particular factor that might be relevant (e.g. the role of technology)? The concern may be that the question, as it is currently stands, could easily lead to quite a descriptive and unsurprising presentation (“Side A’s documentation tended to support side A…side B’s documentation tended to support side B”). This isn’t inevitable, of course – but let’s talk more about it tomorrow.

    Great to see the quick progress since the merger, too!

    All the best,
    Conor

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