Global expert to discuss Islamic State’s communications warfare

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — An expert on global communications, culture and politics will discuss how “image warfare,” specifically video production by the Islamic State, creates a potentially powerful new kind of warfare — global networked affect — during a free public lecture at Penn State.

Marwan M. Kraidy will present “The Projectilic Image: Islamic State’s Digital Visual Warfare and Global Networked Affect” at 6 p.m. Sept. 18 in Foster Auditorium of Paterno Library.

Kraidy is the Anthony Shadid Chair in Global Media, Politics and Culture and director of the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School. The recipient of numerous fellowships (including Andrew Carnegie, Guggenheim and Woodrow Wilson), Kraidy has published 120 essays and 10 books — notably “Hybridity, or the Cultural Logic of Globalization”; “Reality Television and Arab Politics,” which won three leading prizes; and “The Naked Blogger of Cairo: Creative Insurgency in the Arab World,” which won the 2017 International Communication Association’s Outstanding Book Award.

In 2016, Kraidy was appointed an Andrew Carnegie Fellow for his work on the war machine in the age of global communication. That work will provide the basis of his lecture as he explores the central role of digital images in the Islamic State’s war spectacle and identifies a key modality of global networked affect.

His talk will focus on three primary sources, two Arabic-language Islamic State books and the February 2015 video featuring the spectacular burning of a Jordanian air force pilot captured by the Islamic State. The talk will analyze the group’s doctrine of image-warfare explained in the two books. It will also examine how this doctrine is executed in video production. Using a theoretical framework combining spectacle, new media phenomenology and affect theory, the talk will conclude that global networked affect is “projectilic” — mimicking fast, lethal, penetrative objects. Kraidy thus believes the Islamic State group’s visual warfare ushers in the age of what can be referred to as the “projectilic image.”

The Pockrass Lecture was named after the late Professor Robert M. Pockrass, a member of Penn State’s journalism faculty from 1948 to 1977. Pockrass, who specialized in public opinion and popular culture, served as the graduate officer and taught radio news writing.

Last Updated August 25, 2017